Michael Holt

Pilot Single

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The third solo album by Toronto-based singer/songwriter Michael Holt (formerly of the cult popsters the Mommyheads) is an enjoyable if occasionally frustrating album that in many ways recalls the classic '70s work of Todd Rundgren. Unfortunately, one of the ways in which Holt resembles Rundgren is that Holt would clearly be greatly served by an editor and musical foil who would put a gentle restraining hand on some of his excesses. The list of guest stars is most impressive, and the rich variety of the arrangements and production is to be commended in an age where it seems too many folks don't even bother to change the settings on the synthesizers between songs, but every single one of these 12 songs could easily be edited by at least a minute and would gain much by it. (For example, the earnestly pretty "What Is Love?" plods on for over eight full minutes for little apparent reason, but at around four or five minutes it would be a lovely little jazz-tinged reverie.) There are some fine songs here -- "If I Just Open Up My Mouth" is a power pop knockout, sounding like prime Paul McCartney backed by classic-era Squeeze -- but overall, Pilot Single does too little with too many ideas.

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