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Carry on Wise Guy

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Album Review

The debut solo album by German house producer Hannes Bieger, Carry on Wise Guy is, on the surface, a relentlessly pleasant blend of downtempo beats, acid jazz horns and electric piano, and occasional R&B diva vocals. So basically, Carry on Wise Guy is fundamentally indistinguishable from dozens of similar records that one hears playing in the bars of trendy boutique hotels the world over. However, Bieger steers away from most of the clichés of the style throughout the album, and several songs depart from the usual template in new and intriguing ways. For example, the Damien Rice-like vocalist on the moody "Slow Down" makes for a nice change from the usual anonymous N'Dea Davenport wannabes, the three-part "Luncheonette" has more in common with Brian Eno's ambient music than the average downtempo lounge record, and some of the vocal tracks, particularly "The Scene" and "Life Matters," work as St. Etienne-style elegant dance-pop, not just background mood music. Carry on Wise Guy doesn't entirely transcend its genre, but it certainly stands out.

Carry on Wise Guy, Airmate
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