Spike Priggen

There's No Sound in Flutes!

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Spike Priggen is like a musician unstuck in time -- his music manages to sound a bit (and sometimes even more than a bit) like Jeff Lynne ("I Know Everything"), Jeff Lynne producing Badfinger ("Hideaway"), Big Star ("Little Star"), and any number of past musical icons, without ever actually mimicking any of them. At the same time, his voice isn't great, but it is honest and expressive, sometimes beguilingly so. And when that attribute is coupled with his solid rock production, the effect is to turn romantic laments like "Everyone Loves Me But You" and "Disappointing Everyone" -- which, so logic tells us, ought to be lugubrious singer/songwriter indulgences, and (theoretically) the slowest part of this album -- into beautifully crafted pop/rock, gorgeous enough on every level to hold this listener's attention through multiple listens (something he almost never has time to do). And when he switches over to acoustic guitar, on "The Only Girl in the World," the results are mesmerizing -- he's fully in his element in that low-wattage setting, on one of the prettier country-rock style love songs that this reviewer has heard since Gene Clark left this planet. And "I'm So Glad You Broke My Heart" is a sardonically clever take on romantic separation, ornamented by some of the densest mix of high-wattage guitar and orchestral accompaniment this side of '70s-era Poco. By the end of the disc, it's still a little hard to pin down precisely what Priggen's "real" sound is, but with songs as good as this, does it really matter?

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