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The Show Is On the Road

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Album Review

Paleface has had the misfortune, seemingly self-chosen, to identify with the anti-folk movement of New York City. Anti-folk is a pretty loose and hard to define category that could be called acoustic punk, or ironic folk, or self-indulgent acoustic experimentalism. It's more of an attitude than a genre, an in-yer-face stance that dares people to identify with it. It seems to be as much anti-show business as anti-folk, although the folks who have come out of the scene and made a go of it, like Kimya Dawson for one, have eventually settled down and started writing real songs. Paleface should take heed. The songs on The Show Is on the Road aren't bad, but they aren't really good either. Most of them sound dashed off, spontaneous outpourings of words, music, and emotion that may be visceral to the artist, but sound unfinished to the casual listener. Paleface plays a solid acoustic guitar, and with drummer Monica Samalot laying down a funky groove, the duo makes music that moves, but it never really goes anywhere. The album opens with the title track, and while the lyric is mostly the song's title repeated over and over, it really gets the juices flowing. "Holy Holy" is a secular spiritual with a tossed off lyric, perhaps echoing the beat mantra of first thought best thought, and comes across with plenty of unrestrained energy. That's the good news. The rest of the tunes pass with a shrug, not bad enough to make you push the eject button, but you won't be pushing replay, either. Many of them are based on late-'50s R&B and rock chord progressions, so there's a classical feel to the music, and Samalot's harmonies are always pleasing, but Paleface never takes advantage of the mood these familiar tunes evoke. ~ j. poet, Rovi

The Show Is On the Road, Paleface
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