McAlmont & Butler

The Sound of McAlmont & Butler

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The complete works of David McAlmont and Bernard Butler's stormy, short-lived collaboration are collected on The Sound of McAlmont & Butler. Featuring all the duo's songs including their two singles, "Yes" and "You Do," the disc illustrates why the collaboration didn't last more than a few months in 1995. Both of the musicians are extremely talented -- McAlmont's voice soars like few other contemporary soul and pop singers, while Butler has a talent for grandiose, majestic songs and arrangements that his contemporaries generally disdain -- but both are prone to indulgence, which is exactly what happened. Instead of achieving the dark, theatrical beauty of Dog Man Star, his last album with Suede, Butler throws literally everything into the mix -- all of his songs sound like extensions of his magnum opus with Suede, "Stay Together," without the precise vision of Brett Anderson to temper his more outlandish tendencies. That's because McAlmont has a tendency for the outlandish too -- he's just as likely to collapse into vocal histrionics as he is to reach new sonic heights. Consequently, the songs on The Sound of McAlmont & Butler are about sound, not about melody. There are selected highlights -- the duo fulfills their ambitions on the gorgeous "Yes" -- but for the most part, the album is disappointingly tedious and frustratingly unengaging. In short, a wasted opportunity.

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