Moris Tepper

Stingray in the Heart

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Moris Tepper has become a more sophisticated record maker on his fourth solo album Stingray in the Heart, but his attention span hasn't gotten much longer. The man who put 24 tracks in 61 minutes on his second album, Moth to Mouth, presents only 15 in 41 minutes here, but he does -- as usual -- jump from one thing to another, sometimes within the same song. "New Moon," a short burst of noisy guitar rock, serves as an introduction as well as a reminder that Tepper used to work with Captain Beefheart. From there, he alternates hard rockers like "The Wolf King" with ballads like the synthesized "Tables" (there are a lot of keyboards on this album, including plenty of organ playing). He also -- again, as usual -- varies the sound of his voice, using studio gimmickry to sound like several different singers, from the deep crooner of "Tables" to gruffer tenors, sometimes double-tracked. There are love songs touching on what seems to be Tepper's favorite take on romance, papering over disagreements, or trying to get a departed lover to come back. There are rock instrumentals and odd little interludes. There are even curious songs such as "Spidercloud," which seem to be four different songs mashed together. Tepper is an artist to tries to dazzle with his versatility, or maybe one who just can't stick to one thing for very long, or both.