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Imperfect World

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Album Review

Over the course of ten solo albums for adults and three for children, as well as a longstanding day job as the composer of incidental music for the TV show Judging Amy, singer/songwriter Peter Himmelman has managed to garner significant critical acclaim while staying largely below the radar of the record-buying masses. If his latest does little to change either of those realities, then maybe it just means that the music critics really do know best after all. On Imperfect World, Himmelman delivers a consistently winning set of raw-edged, bluesy original songs filled with unpretentious melodic hooks and plainspoken lyrical observations. His sidemen include such notables as drummer Pete Thomas (of the Attractions) and Hammond organist Jeff Young, and Himmelman plays all the guitar himself. The album starts off very strongly with the grungy and blues-based "Loaves of Bread," then slides greasily into a more loose-limbed, Texas-influenced number titled "Kneel Down." But it really hits its stride about midway through the program with "Wet Matches," on which a seemingly effortless pop chord progression rolls inexorably forward over a midtempo groove atop a writhing bed of slide guitar. Above it all, Himmelman sings with laconic assuredness about either everyday life or transcendent spirituality, depending on what you have ears to hear. The half-reggae swagger of "Take It Easy On Me" comes on like sunshine after that intense thunderstorm. Listen to this album two or three times and see if you don't come away wondering why Himmelman hasn't won a Grammy yet.


Born: 23 November 1959 in Minneapolis, MN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Minnesota native Peter Himmelman was the leader of a pop/rock quintet called Sussman Lawrence that made two independent albums in the early '80s and earned him comparisons to such new wave singer/songwriters as Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson. The group became Himmelman's backup band for the release of his debut album, This Father's Day (1986), which earned him a contract with Island Records. He followed with Gematria (1987), Synesthesia (1989), and From Strength to Strength (1991). By the last release,...
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Imperfect World, Peter Himmelman
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