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Album Review

Master pop craftsman Jules Shear is also one of the genre's great humanists: His clear-eyed takes on love, regret, and failure can be tenderhearted or scathing, but are never less than compassionate. Allow Me, his first recording for Rounder Records, finds Shear back in solo mode after 1998's collection of duets, Between Us. Like that record, Allow Me is a collection of love songs, but the mood here is comparatively optimistic. Shear's melodies are as catchy and his lyrics as sharp as ever, especially on "Nothing Is New" and the opener, "Hard Enough," one of Shear's patented wake-up calls to a troubled friend; he's also in fine, relaxed vocal form. But Allow Me is not Shear's strongest overall effort: "Deep" and "Love With You" are unexceptional bar-band rockers, and the latter features flashy backing vocals that are singularly at odds with his down-to-earth persona. The album is also less cohesive than some of his other works, and some songs are obscured by clunky arrangements. Still, even lesser Jules Shear is a gift to fans of intelligent pop.

Customer Reviews

Allow Me to Compliment Jules

Being a Jules Shear fan from the moment I spun his Phonetics and Got No Breeding albums many years ago while he was with the Polar Bears, I’ve been disappointed with the lack of good material he had offered since then. His releases were few and the passion I once heard seemed to be missing. Until I listened to Allow Me. I found this to be more accessible than anything else he’s ever done. His droning vocals have always been difficult to latch on to for some, but these tracks feature more mature versatile arrangements, yet still in his own special style. From the high soaring feel good sound of The More That I’m Around You to the moving ballads Nothing is New and Too Soon Gone. He changes tempo nicely throughout; the background vocals, rhythm and horns of Deep make it sound more like a Motown release. Choked full of pop harmonies and catchable hooks, this is one I highly recommend.

Biography

Born: March 7, 1952 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Though he's never been able to record a hit of his own, singer/songwriter Jules Shear has recorded several albums of highly accessible, hit-worthy material, and as a testament to his abilities, he's penned hits for others, including "All Through the Night" for Cyndi Lauper and "If She Knew What She Wants" for the Bangles. Born in Pittsburgh, Shear began writing songs as a teenager. He relocated to Los Angeles in the mid-'70s, joining his first band, a typically laid-back combo called the Funky Kings....
Full Bio
Allow Me, Jules Shear
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