hilt, Journey to the Center of the Bowl (Nettwerk, 1991)
How to describe the brilliance that is Journey to the Center of the Bowl? It retains the incredible diversity of hilt's debut album, Call the Ambulance... Before I Hurt Myself, while still sounding like a more coherent piece of work. Al Nelson is more in tune, and doing more of the lounge-lizard vocal thing. After almost fifteen years, I have yet to decide whether that's a good or a bad thing. The lyrics are almost as inspired here as they are on the first disc, and Nelson has more of a sense of cleverness, rather than all-out insanity, throwing in little surprises ("Birdwatcher" is especially fetching) and reversals throughout the lyrics. The band sounds not much different, if you strip away the genre-bouncing; it's still excellent, solid performance.
This, folks, is what pop music could have been for the last fifteen years. Listen, and weep for what it has become. **** ½