The Cavedogs

Soul Martini

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The second and final album from Boston power pop trio the Cavedogs, 1992's Soul Martini, is a bit of a disappointment in comparison to its predecessor, 1990's sparkling Joy Rides for Shut-Ins. Slickly produced by Material's Michael Beinhorn (who did a similarly unwelcome prettying-up on Soul Asylum's Grave Dancers Union the same year), the album is just slightly too glossy to be entirely entertaining, particularly since the Cavedogs' brand of guitar pop needs a few rough edges to really make an impact. If this album's flaws were just due to the production, that would be one thing. Unfortunately, the trio's songwriting isn't quite up to snuff. A few tracks are every bit the equal of the Cavedogs' earlier material -- the Cheap Trick-like "Boy in a Plastic Bubble" might be the best thing they ever did -- but for every spirited rocker like the harmony-heavy "Sonny Day," there's a lumbering, over-long "Sorrow (Boots of Pain)." Capitol dropped the Cavedogs after the disappointing commercial reception afforded Soul Martini, and the group split up shortly thereafter. Singer/bassist Brian Stevens went on to a creatively successful indie solo career.

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