Sam D'Angelo

Nothing Left But Hope

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After a ten-year hiatus from rock that found him working a nine-to-five job, former Sister Ray frontman Sam D'Angelo returned to the music world in the summer of 2002 with the self-release Nothing Left but Hope. It's an earnest record, one every bit as lo-fi as the cassettes Sister Ray had issued in the '80s, but one lacking in originality and insight. D'Angelo succeeds most on uptempo material where his voice isn't the focus: The driving, industrious "Psalm 5" is a winner, and the exciting "Nothing Left" and "(Another) Disconnection" compare favorably with the similar material John Darnielle worked up around this time with the Mountain Goats. On the rest of the cuts, however, D'Angelo's questionable pitch draws too much attention to lyrics that are all too often awkward and rather dippy. There's some knowing energy to be found on Nothing Left but Hope, but D'Angelo's solo material here is moderately talented, occasionally catchy, and ultimately inconsequential.

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