Ed Kuepper

The Butterfly Net

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Released in part as an introduction for American fans to Kuepper's wide-ranging, seemingly endless series of albums and singles, The Butterfly Net is a killer way for the Kuepper neophyte to get grounded in the man's excellent work. Longtime fans will likewise find much to appreciate, given that a number of cuts found their first appearance on album or CD here as well. Not arranged in any particular order but following a vague chronological flow, The Butterfly Net covers both more well-known high notes and the relative obscurities with aplomb; like the Smiths' Louder Than Bombs, one could easily imagine it to be a cohesive album rather than a collection. "Not a Soul Around" kicks everything off with a confident horn-driven blast, balanced against the lyric's much more bereft sentiments, while Today Wonder's "Everything I've Got Belongs to You" ends the collection on a gentle but passionate note. In between Kuepper's ability at both heartfelt singing and wonderful guitar playing gets showcase after showcase, whether it's the dramatic, tingling energy of "Black Ticket Day" -- here appearing in its single version -- or the just mournful enough waft of "Sea Air," with Chris Abrahams' organ a smart extra touch. Of the rarer numbers, highlights include the fierce but never overbearing "At Times So Emotional," which originally surfaced on the Nothing Changes in My House EP (that song surfaces as well, in a different take from the album version) and the equally strong arrangement and punch of "New Bully In Town." If nothing else, The Butterfly Net confirms that the truest genius in the Saints was the one who left early on -- and it's always a delight to hear the Morricone guitar starting off a song called "Also Sprach the King of Euro-Disco."

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