Perfume Letter 0803


rovi.MR0000423628 8/26/03 Used

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    Perfume Letter 0803 Paste Records

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Review Text On Perfumed Letter, his 14th album, but only his second as a solo artist not fronting the Vigilantes of Love, Bill Mallonee continues his remarkably prolific streak. While a little less rocking than the music he made with VOL, these 13 rootsy tracks with hints of psychedelia will be welcomed by his established fans, and might even win him some new ones. The twangy strum of early R.E.M. (Peter Buck produced an early Vigilantes release) is in evidence on "That Little Something," a slight love song with a melody as catchy as anything he's ever written. Mallonee seems to have spent considerable time in the studio crafting these tunes, as this album has intricate layers of multiple, often jangling guitars, keyboards, and vocals, that make the music glisten. He ups the tempo for the Tom Petty-ish "Extraordinary Girl" (think "American Girl"), but generally remains in a moodier groove. For every positive spin on love, like "Crescent Moon," where the singer relates the awkwardness of meeting his wife, there's "Wintergreen," with the lyrics "how could you walk away from this so easily," as a George Harrison-styled lead guitar provides a sad coda. Mallonee is in terrific voice throughout, with his hangdog vocal inflection a perfect reflection of the music's introspective, sometimes dark tilt. As the album progresses, it becomes more melancholy, with the six-minute "Shirts & Skins" a lovely but sad reflection on how life -- and love -- have let him down. "Your Bright Future" follows it, where he mourns, "I'm losing myself and I know I'm losing you." So much for the hopeful title. But even those looking for a cheerier outlook will be impressed with the detailed musicianship, and beautifully melodic songwriting throughout. The opening "She's So Liquid" runs "Strawberry Fields Forever" through the Mallonee mindset with impressive results. Although a somber mood prevails, Perfumed Letter is an aromatic collection which shows that, even with only minimal popularity, the middle-aged Mallonee remains a tremendously talented singer/songwriter who has not yet hit a dry patch. ~ Hal Horowitz

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. She's So Liquid - 3:59
  2. 2. Perfumed Letter - 5:38
  3. 3. Life on Other Planets - 4:24
  4. 4. Extraordinary Girl - 2:29
  5. 5. Two Become One - 4:20
  6. 6. Silver Transparent - 3:27
  7. 7. Crescent Moon - 5:47
  8. 8. That Little Something - 4:19
  9. 9. Wintergreen - 4:20
  10. 10. After All You've Done for Me - 5:50
  11. 11. Shirts & Skins - 6:02
  12. 12. Your Bright Future - 2:32
  13. 13. [Untitled Track] - 4:50

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