Wally Pleasant

Welcome to Pleasantville

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On his second album, Wally Pleasant retained the acoustic approach of his debut while fleshing out his sound with additional musicians, adding accordion here, saxophone there, and, on several songs, a full rhythm section. A glance at the track list of Welcome to Pleasantville should be enough to determine whether Pleasant's brand of humor-based folk is for you; in his typical quirky fashion, he's designated a full ten of the disc's 14 cuts as "bonus tracks." One-dimensional novelties such as the up-tempo "She's Addicted to Clothes" and the bluesy "Farmhand A-Go-Go" don't hold up to repeated listenings, and, in fact, a fair portion of Welcome to Pleasantville lacks the cleverness and wit of the singer's later material. Still, he imaginatively sends up right-wing politics on two contrasting versions of "I Was a Teenage Republican" and crafts a genuinely funny holiday tune with "Merry Christmas Time Again," in which he observes that "Christmas Day was when Jesus was born/I guess that would make him a Capricorn." Nearly every song includes at least one laugh-out-loud couplet; it's only when Pleasant tries to play it semi-straight, as on the pop-aspiring "Only Everything," that things spiral beyond recovery.

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