Only Tonight

Louie Austen

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Only Tonight Review

by Robert L. Doerschuk

It's tempting to think of Louie Austen as a new-millennial variation on the Mrs. Miller phenomenon. Throughout Only Tonight, he swaggers through a set of forgettable songs set to ersatz disco grooves. His style derives from the Bill Murray school of cocktail crooning: When not actually singing, he's saying things like, "Hi, I'm Louie Austen, and I tell you that music keeps me staying alive," as the drum track patiently mutes itself in the background. "Amore (I Love You)" is more of a hallucinogenic Dean Martin tribute, as Austen's syrupy glissandi ooze over a backup of guiro, trombones, string stabs, electronics, and other oddities. The rhythm tracks, co-arranged by Patrick Puslinger and Mario Neugebauer, tend toward excessive detailing and cliché -- the robot voice speaking the tag line at the end of "Music" and the icy femme fatale chanting "jack me 'til I start to scream" in "Hoping" are among a multiplicity of devices employed here that were worn out by Giorgio Moroder a generation earlier. And the synthesizer quacks, offbeat zap noises, and refusal to hit the backbeat on "Hear My Song!" suggest an anti-dance aesthetic. A native Austrian, Austen reportedly enjoys singing at the local Marriott Hotel bar; the music on Only Tonight makes this not difficult to believe.

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