Peter Mayer

Spare Tire Orchestra

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Peter Mayer's Spare Tire Orchestra is such a friendly album that flaying it may seem cruel. Mayer's fans will be attracted to the stripped-down numbers on the CD; however, anyone who has previously felt indifference or dislike toward Mayer's work will most likely be bored by Spare Tire Orchestra. There is nothing wrong with Mayer's voice -- it is laid-back and soothing. But the songs are largely unmemorable. Every track is laden with acoustic guitars, which blur into one another because of the often-pedestrian lyrics. Mayer certainly means well; on "India (Teach Your Children)," he warmly offers advice to the young. Unfortunately, the lyrics are cringe-inducing: "Oh little one tell me what you see/ Fairy tales and wishing wells/Dragons in the sea/Oh." Even worse, he quotes Graham Nash's antiquated hippie anthem "Teach Your Children" at the song's end. In "The Ballad of John Steele," Mayer sings about a World War II paratrooper whose parachute landed on a church steeple while enemy bullets swarmed around him. It's a darkly comical real-life tale; too bad the track is performed without any creativity or humor. "Moonlight Over Paris" is one of the best songs Peter Mayer recorded as PM. The unplugged version of "Moonlight Over Paris" on Spare Tire Orchestra is even more romantic than the original. Just program track seven on the CD player and skip everything else.

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