Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

PETER WOLF

MIDNIGHT SOUVENIRS

2010-03-24

While Peter Wolf will forever be known as the hip, irreverent voice of the J.Geils Band, the mostly inactive status of that band over the past couple of decades hasn’t left him on the sidelines. Starting with his 1984 solo debut, "Lights Out", he’s had a successful, if not overly active, solo career. Focusing on quality rather than quantity, he’s released six discs including 2002’s "Sleepless" and 1998’s "Fools Parade" which Rolling Stone named in the top 500 albums of all time and top 50 of the 1990’s respectively. This disc marks his 7th release and is well worth the wait. With 14 songs that cover the sonic waterfront from country (as channeled by the Faces or Stones), "I’m Always Asking For You" and "Tragedy" (with Shelby Lynne), folk, "Leaves Us All Behind", classic singer song-writer ballads, "It’s Too Late For Me" (with Merle Haggard) rock, "I Don’t Wanna Know" and "The Night Comes Down", pop, "The Greenfields of Summer" (with Neko Case), sexy soul, "Overnight Lows", and meaty slabs of funk, "Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky" and "Watch Her Move", the latter of which recalls the Rolling Stone’s "Miss You" with its rubbery bass groove, Wolf doesn’t hit a false note. While his trademark sense of humor is in place: check out the semi-rapped interludes on "Overnight Lows" where he reprises the stream of consciousness that made the intro to the J.Geils live classic, "Must Have Got Lost", such a fun listen- only this time he doesn’t get Rapuntzel; instead he’s sitting alone in his underwear in the dark eating baloney sandwiches, he’s also reflective as he examines opportunities to be pursued, "There’s Still Time", and the folly of remaking someone, "Don’t Try Any Change Her". Despite the passage of time, Wolf’s voice and delivery remains as supple as ever with emotional nuances that got lost in J. Geils’ harder rock. Solid from start to finish, this is a terrific release. Smitty

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