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This review is from: Odludek [VINYL] (Vinyl)
When Beck released 'Sea Change' I remember one critic complained that the vocals on tracks like 'Paper Tiger' were sloppy or slurred, I forget the exact word used. I also remember thinking that this person must be new to the world of music and perhaps new to the world in general. Elvis, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits - non of these people took a rock 'n' roll elocution lesson.
My point is that music critics can be as dumb as the rest of us. They're just people whose voices reach a bigger audience than most.
The general consensus in the music press is that Jimi Goodwin's first solo effort away from his Doves band mates is an average affair at best. Some reviewers seem quite uptight, considering the business they're in, and almost offended that Mr. Goodwin should have the impertinence to make an album by himself. This strict parental attitude seems to have clouded their ability to enjoy 'Odludek' for what it is - the result of a great song writer letting his hair down, having some fun and coming up with some unexpected but inspired extracurricular invention.
Even if you can't accept that this is a solo effort, there's still a lot for a Doves fan to enjoy here. Tracks such as 'Didsbury Girl', 'Hope', 'Oh Whiskey', 'Keep My Soul In Song', and 'Ghost Of The Empties' are all excellent, equal to anything he's done before and certainly won't startle anyone who likes Doves' music.
'Live Like A River' has been likened to a Sub Sub track but the slight dance element is deceiving and merely a cover for a far more robust, driven song than anything that that band ever produced.
'Man v Dingo' is the one song where you feel that Mr. Goodwin's desire to make a "mad mix tape" of an album actually shows itself. The track is the most out-there element of 'Odludek'. A cheesy quiz show theme (sounding more like Sub Sub than 'Live Like A River' does) leads into jaunty bass, blasts of brass and a playful, music hall guitar strum. The lyrics sound like a stream of consciousness and complement the music perfectly. It has an 'everything and the kitchen sink' quality to it and does indeed sound a little mad. Terrific stuff that nevertheless may test a loyal Doves fan.
'Panic Tree', co-written with Elbow's Guy Garvey, also has echoes of music hall in its piano sound and suggestion of big bass drum wallop. With it's slightly wacky, unhinged glory, it's impossible to listen to it without smiling or dancing. If anything, along with 'Man v Dingo', it perfectly embodies what the main purpose of this album may have been - to create an atmosphere reminiscent of an after hours pub party or a large family get together where the band is loose, well oiled by a few drinks but hitting its stride. There's drive, fun, laughter, pathos, melancholy, nostalgia and love. At the end everyone's tired, unsteady on their feet but happy in the warm embrace of friends and family.
If you're open to it, 'Odludek' is a distillation of all those things - a great night out.