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Only Review

by Tom Demalon

The L.A.-based duo of David Russo and Joan Jones have dropped the hyphen and fleshed out their sound for the 1993 follow-up to their debut release. Produced by Russo, with executive production from noted R.E.M. producer Scott Litt, Only is more dense musically and gives Jones more to play off of vocally. "Merry Xmas" kicks things off aggressively. Guests David Navarro (guitar) and Jack Irons (drums) provide a sonic charge to things with Jones powerfully belting out the strange, nursery rhyme-like lyrics. On "Treasure," the second track, the band shifts gears for a dreamy, Mazzy Star feel with Jones adding trumpet. And it just gets better. "All of the Joy" finds cello underscoring the lovely, midtempo song with Jones giving a reading of the love song's lyric that manages to be sultry and innocent sounding at the same time. There's also the funky, scorching "Never Seen God," which again features Navarro and Irons, and the playful, bouncy rhythm of "Tell Me Like You Know." Only shows growth from their debut and tantalizes with wonder of what might be next.

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