Chuck Maiden

Morris Road

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Adult pop in the tradition of Neil Finn and Michael Penn, Chuck Maiden's debut album consists of 14 low-key but quietly appealing pop songs. On the surface, songs like "Two Planets" and "Won't Be Lonely Anymore" sound kind of like standard-issue AAA along the lines of the Wallflowers -- although somewhat bizarrely, on "You Are an Angel," Maiden sounds quite a bit like Jakob Dylan's dad -- but a closer listen reveals that Maiden is a graceful lyricist with a sharp eye for poetic detail; songs like "Stun Me" and "Overtime Love" are built on unexpected metaphors and sly wordplay that recall Elvis Costello and Squeeze's Chris Difford. Musically, the album is slick but not soulless, with enough melodic heft and catchy hooks per song to keep it interesting for those who care to listen more closely. Although perhaps not the arrival of a stunning and unexpected new talent, Morris Road is an entertaining listen that hints at more interesting work still to come.

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