Paul Kelly & the Messengers / Paul Kelly

So Much Water, So Close to Home

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While not as elaborate as most of his albums, So Much Water contains plenty of bouncy melodies and energetic riffs to compensate for the lyrical complexity usually spun by Kelly. The songs are still of the story type, but are shorter and less character driven than on past attempts. Two of Paul Kelly's best written tunes are nestled in amongst the others here, one of them being "Everything's Turning to White," a tale about three hunters who find a dead body in a river but continue on their trip anyway, causing their wives to wonder what kind of men they actually married. The other is a disturbing piece called "Sweet Guy," based on a wife abuser and his Jekyl and Hyde treatment of his spouse, sung from her point of view. Both songs are true to Kelly's intriguing knack of fiction telling, making some of the other tunes seem a little weak in the content department. More poetic and romantic on this album, the songs still work, and his acoustic guitar and partnered sax from Steve Berlin balance out the material musically.

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