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Album Review

While guitarist, saxophonist, and occasional vocalist Elliott Sharp has been projecting innovative, oddball, and completely original avant-garde craziness for three decades, Forgery is authentic to one of his greatest passions, the blues. Terraplane's lead vocalist, Eric Mingus, screams the title of "Smoke and Mirrors" like a Hendrix-possessed madman on the title track, but the tune is actually a fun, hard-driving blues-rocker, punctuated by his band's jazz-inflected horns. Take his primal screaming away, and it's a mainstream track. Mingus — the son of jazz legend Charles Mingus — tones down the odd registers on "Tell Me Why" just enough for the track to come across as a forceful expression of angst-ridden urban blues. There's no beating around the Bush (capital B intended) on "Katrina Blues/How the Crescent City Got Bleached," a retro-soul and blues-funk lament that blends New Orleans jazz with vocalist Tracie Morris' pointed vocal prayer. "Dance 4 Lance" is another Hendrix-happy, distorted vocal blast that's crazy but also somehow toe-tappin', while other tracks like "Long Way to Go" show Terraplane's slightly more sensitive side, albeit still in an edgy rock context. The free-form, percussion-driven, and Eastern-influenced guitar-plucked "Haditha" lets the avant-garde creep in, but for the most part, Forgery is just left-of-center aggressive American blues.

Forgery, Elliott Sharp's Terraplane
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