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Glances From A Nervous Groom

Jeff Hart & The Ruins

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Album Review

Ah, the rewards of sticking with it. After a refreshing live set in his hometown of Raleigh, NC, alerted me to this modest popster, his first LP in 1991, The Singles 1961-1990 was a small jangle pop delight. Four years later, Jeff Hart and the Ruins have really perfected the medium, with a batch of zippy tunes that bring back memories of when it seemed that Southern pop was taking over; when R.E.M. and the dB's, or Love Tractor and Pylon, or Let's Active and Oh OK were invading New York almost every week. Like the later Windbreakers or Crippled Pilgrims, Hart has delivered a flawless set that is so instantly pleasing it's as if he digested not only all those bands' records, but all the '60s LPs that inspired them too, and wrote songs that Tom Petty would probably forfeit a tooth or two for, the kind that Roger McGuinn would favor. To wit, look at Hart's choice of covers! The Kinks' "Top of the Pops," from their last truly great LP in 1970, Lola vs. the Powerman & the Money-Go-Round, Pt. 1, is one of the greatest cynical songs ever written about musicians and the music business (one of many Ray Davies composed on this revealing subject) and is performed here with suitable aplomb. But mostly, it's the ringing guitars, the sweet, sympathetic backing, and Hart's much-improved, heart-on-sleeve voice that's the star, with meticulous chord changes, and worthy lyrics on the ins and outs of love's pull (don't miss "From Now On"; thank God there's a few romantic men left in the world who believe in commitment, and this cut deals with the dour frustration of competing with the far less sincere). And you gotta love that tinge of lap steel on "Rise Above the Weather," a great light shade of country. Hart masters a variety of styles, and Glances is a gratifying work he and his band should be supremely proud of. Yet another undiscovered prize.

Glances From A Nervous Groom, Jeff Hart & The Ruins
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: 09 December 1995

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