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PJ Olsson

American Scream

(CBS; US: 16 Oct 2007; UK: Unavailable)

The earnest singer-songwriter has never gone out of style, and P.J. Olsson knows it will probably never change. His new venture is another safe but steady journey through singer-songwriter gems beginning with the uplifting panache of “A Million Stars”—this despite the fact some talk-box or vocoder used in the bridge makes it more like Daft Punk, albeit briefly. Keeping the upbeat, pop-folk feel is “The Minute’s Gone”, another radio-friendly, John Mayer-ish ditty. Olsson also seems to rip off Violent Femmes a lot with the riff of the band’s “Blister in the Sun” basically making the foundation of “Mother Honey”. Some of the material is good but not the type you could recall the following day or even maybe the following hour for that matter, especially “Rain Song” and the exhaustive “Morning Girl” that brings to mind Cat Stevens or Crosby, Stills and Nash. Perhaps the highlight of the album is “No Place To Go” which doesn’t sound overly produced or slick, just a musician fusing some strong lyrics with a stronger sense of melody. Another keeper is “The Dream” which has Olsson performing alone with his acoustic guitar and in a deeper timbre than usual.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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