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That Handsome Devil

That Handsome Devil

(Stardust Records; US: 25 Jul 2006; UK: )

That Handsome Devil should not be construed as some sort of tribute to the Smiths. This That Handsome Devil is a jazzy, spacey kind of specimen that plods along with some crazy but great arrangement behind it. It sounds like it was spliced together, but finds its horn-tinged groove early on during “Standing Room in Heaven”, which resembles Dr. John to a certain extent. Meanwhile, lead singer Godforbid saunters through the odd “Yada Yada”, which resembles waiting on the line for some agent, sales representative, or some other yahoo who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. But things are ratcheted up quickly during a punk-ish chorus. That Handsome Devil is very musically diverse, with “Sleep It Off” having all the traits of a song off the Shaft soundtrack. Then the band gets you to relax and chill during the Gnarls Barkley-like “Elephant Bones”. The real nugget here is “Dating Tips”, which has a Beatles bounce to it and an idiotic quality a la Digital Underground. The artful short album concludes with a groovy dance ditty called “James Dean”. It’s bizarre, but in a beautiful way.

Rating:

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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That Handsome Devil recalls a jazzier, urban-influenced Squirrel Nut Zippers.
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