Billy C. Wirtz

Unchained Maladies

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    4
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AllMusic Review by

Writing and performing "cute songs" is Wirtz's stock in trade; it's a genre that can grow tiresome in a hurry, and one that's best ingested in small doses. That's pretty much the case here; Wirtz's vocals are the weakest point of his overall presentation and frequently go off-course from the band tracks, and the sax and guitar solos seem like unnecessary intrusions after awhile as he negotiates his way to the next joke. Midway through the album, you suddenly realize that almost every song utilizes the exact same arrangement with a vamp at the end that allows him to spin off endless variations on whatever the joke line of each title is, meaning each song won't survive repeated listenings. There's cute and then there's clever, but unfortunately, this album fills neither of those bills. The Reverend calls this album "Wilson Pickett meets Jim Nabors meets Frank Zappa; just don't call it wacky and compare it to Weird Al!" Certainly not; Weird Al at least holds up to repeated listenings in most cases. Save your money for Wirtz's live show where the jokes don't get told twice, one suspects.

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