Put Your Foot Inside the Door

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Graeme Jefferies' follow-up to the previous Cakekitchen album How Can You Be So Blind? was more of a solo affair, with the previous album's drummer Michael Heilrath only adding his parts on a couple of songs in post-production, while the final track, "The Hop Hop Song," is taken from a concert by a quartet incarnation of the group. But as a singular statement of purpose Put Your Foot Inside the Door was another striking album from Jefferies; if less obviously a high point than its predecessor, it's still a fine listen for those inclined to enjoy his work. The emphasis throughout is more on the steadily gentle than the upbeat or the dramatically haunting, though there are some stellar moments of moody reflection, as "Ballad for Owen Meaney," with its contrasting high and low vocal parts and soft-as-silk acoustic guitars over low drone snippets, readily shows. Opening song "Strung Out" tackles a perhaps well-worn metaphor with good enough grace, while the most "full" sounding rock song, "I'm So Glad That You Dropped out of High School," resolves in a warm, uplifting charge. As is so often the case with the Cakekitchen it can all come down to a small touch -- the high piano melody (contrasted with sterner chords on the chorus) on "Monkey World" or the concluding zone/freak-out section of "Perfect Love in Radioland" (turning an OK song into a remarkable one) being two good examples. Jefferies' vocal style remains as it has so often been -- tuneful in a sing-speak way that suggests similar masters of the form like John Cale and Leonard Cohen -- putting the seal on another good record.

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