When it comes to influences, Keith Killoren obviously doesn't believe in limiting himself to one particular era. Killoren, Budapest One's lead singer and the person who writes most of the band's material, is essentially coming from a rock and a singer/songwriter perspective. Most of the influences one hears on This Town Just Gave You a Dreamer are people who emerged in the '60s and '70s, and that includes Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, the Beatles, and Bruce Springsteen as well as Joe Jackson, Randy Newman, and Elvis Costello. But if you listen closely, you'll also hear '20s, '30s, and '40s influences on this album -- influences like Kurt Weill, Tin Pan Alley, Broadway music, German cabaret, and Argentinean tango of the pre-Astor Piazzolla variety. Clearly, Killoren realizes that music didn't begin with the birth of rock & roll around 1954, and that realization is a definite plus on this 2003 release (which is Budapest One's first album for the Washington, D.C.-based Beatville label and third overall). While tracks like "Baby Loves the Senator," "Catching Roses," and "Gypsy of Budapest" are rock & roll first and foremost, they have a theatrical element that sets Killoren apart from similar singer/songwriters. Anyone who attends an open-mic gathering in a local coffeehouse is bound to come across some Dylan and Springsteen worshipers -- that part of Killoren's artistry is hardly unusual -- but how many of them could honestly claim Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht as influences? This CD falls short of perfect; some of the songs are stronger than others. But Killoren's musical vision is certainly intriguing, and This Town Just Gave You a Dreamer leaves listeners with a generally favorable impression of Budapest One.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson