Mr. Rose

The Purpose of the Animal

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Former Jim the Band guitarist Dave Werba marked the beginning of his solo career with this five-song EP, released under the name Mr. Rose. It is not a great departure from his work with Jim the Band. In fact, two of the five tracks ("Wild Monkey" and "Summer Breeze") are taken directly from Jim's last effort, The Blue Album, complete with keyboard performances by Frank Gattone and bass by Barrett Schultz. The three new songs truly are solo efforts for Werba; he sings and plays guitars, drums, bass, keyboards, cello, synth, and French horn. They do draw some inspiration from Werba's wacky jam rock idols, Phish, who have always been the clearest influence on the guitarist's group work. But the new songs project a mellow psychedelic mood that departs from the Phish sound more than anything Werba wrote for Jim the Band. "The Devil" and "Face of the Lion" seem to borrow as much from late Beatles and Todd Rundgren as they do from Trey Anastasio. The goofy lyrics have been toned down (on the new tracks; "Wild Monkey" is still joyfully outrageous) and even Werba's fretwork seems to subordinate itself to the mood of the music. The EP gives reason for admirers of this talented but often derivative songwriter to hope that Werba has at last found his own voice.

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