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  CD Capsule Reviews
  February 2004

By Dennis Cook

Om Trio: Globalpositioningrecord
It starts like a marble rolling across an electric field. One is stretched into the language of poetry listening to the Om Trio, who take the basic palette of drums, keyboards & bass and make leaps across stanzas, parse couplets, work metaphors without speaking a word. The lazy might describe them 'fusion' or 'jazz' but those don't have the volume to hold what this group is attempting. This, their fourth studio effort, contains alarming shifts in mood even within the same piece. What might begin as a house party, shifts to a leopard print wearing jungle jam. Or maybe it's slow lovin' that accelerates towards a cop show romp proudly presented in color. Pete Novembre's bass converses more than holds down a spot. Brian Felix exercises some of the broken keyboard wisdom one associates with Brian Eno yet still tosses in some gooey funk for good measure; to wit, "Bulbous" which has the same meaty bump as quality Galactic though far less lockstep in execution. Tune into drummer Ilya Stemkovsky at any point and you'll find something engaging to say the least. What all this dances around is Globalpositioningrecord defies category, takes playful chances and provides a rich idea hopper for their potent, exploratory live sets. Put more bluntly, good shit, Maynard.
Om Trio Web site

Jet: Get Born
This dirty jean Australian quartet revive the foot stompin' come on y'all vibe of '70s stadium long hairs. They also turn a ballad with the non-ironic dampness of Journey or The Babys. For all the chatter about a 'return to rawk' I don't catch the same pulse in pumping here in The Strokes or The Hives or any number of ballyhooed acts in the press. "Take It Or Leave It" is as stoopid cool as an MC5 tune. Fellow Aussies AC/DC and the Saints are clearly touchstones. On the weepies like "Look What You've Done" they sing with the honey sweetness of the Raspberries. In many ways this isn't a very complex record, a bit rough around the edges, far too eager to please to take any real chances. However, it does remind me of early Faces or the Black Crowes debut and that's a lot of promise. If they are half as serious as they sound the second record is going to lay us on our asses. In the meantime, spark 'em if you got 'em and have a loose goose boogie around your living room while you get born.
Jet Web site

Mark Eitzel: The Ugly American
Eitzel's voice is an acquired taste. Yet, once acquired, once allowed into the blood, he can haunt you like a folk tale or the scraps of memory remaining from a three-day bender. Recorded in Greece with a wholly different ensemble than he usually plays with, The Ugly American finds him crooning with the most sympathetic backing he's had in nearly a decade since he left his landmark San Francisco band American Music Club (who have just recently reformed). His raked gravel singing sounds amazing with violins, bouzouki, clarinet and mandolin, often conjuring, dare I say it, a romantic mood. His reworking of "Will You Find Me" from AMC's Mercury album is pure yearning, an ache expressed without reservation. Much of this new material holds a candle's flicker of hope, something new to the Eitzel canon. Within the 'boundary of a kiss' he seems to have found something worth waking up for in the morning. A beautiful record that drags me back to the quiet pleasure of AMC's California & Everclear releases.
Mark Eitzel Web site

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