Guy Forsyth

Love Songs: For and Against

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At first, erstwhile blues-rocker Guy Forsyth's first solo album in half a decade sounds much closer to Beck than the Fabulous Thunderbirds: opening track "Long Long Time" sets an addictive chorus against an ongoing spoken word rant about the degradations of America's consumer culture, and covers the whole thing with fuzz guitars, distorted vocals, and unexpected touches like producer Mark Addison's bouzouki and harmonium. The rest of the album isn't quite so shocking a departure from Forsyth's earlier, more traditional blues-rock material, but it still expands upon that sound to include different sounds and textures. Combine the varied and engaging arrangements with Forsyth's strongest collection of songs yet and Love Songs: For and Against is clearly his finest solo work. Highlights: "Brand New Day" includes faux tropical elements while managing to avoid sounding like Jimmy Buffett, while "Rise Up" adds a subtle hip-hop beat to an otherwise straightforward urban blues narrative, and the sardonic blues lullaby "Take Advantage" sets some well-aimed political commentary to a piano-based tune strongly reminiscent of Sail Away-era Randy Newman.

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