Stephen Lynch

The Craig Machine

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Rehashing some material that appeared on the Live at the El Rey DVD, The Craig Machine features guitar-strumming comedian Stephen Lynch live, preaching to the converted with that sick and silly combination of songs he's famous for. Nice to have the El Rey material in a more portable format, but there's some material here that's not up to his usual standards and the better half of the album sounds very post-encore, the time when an act loosens up and tries new, not always successful, things. This isn't the most inspired release in his catalog, so maybe The Craig Machine exists because of "Vanilla Ice Cream", a clever "jungle fever" number that's bound to become a favorite of fans and a staple of Lynch's live show. "Beelz" and "Whittlin' Man" are other fine additions to the catalog, but the less satisfying moments of The Craig Machine would be better off building up to the great "Vanilla Ice Cream" than following it up. Good news is, Lynch is getting wittier and more involved with wordplay, and while this smarter Lynch isn't fully formed yet, moving further away from Adam Sandler's territory points to an exciting future. Don't start here -- check the single and then come back if you're in love with his other, more well-rounded releases.

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