Omens (Ger)


aec.imt853957.2 4/14/09 New

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    Omens (Ger)

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Review Text Though he sounds nothing like him, Jack Hardy shares a particular set of strengths and weaknesses with Elvis Costello: namely, a seemingly effortless ability to turn a phrase, a great knack for melodies, and a terrible voice. That's not to say he's a bad singer -- it's just that he doesn't have much of an instrument to work with. If anything, he sounds like a young Tom Waits. Luckily, good songs can make up for an awful lot of vocal limitation, and Hardy has those in spades, beginning with the wry and tuneful "I Ought to Know" and ending with the sweetly despairing "A Change of Heart." In between, there are such lighthearted moments as "The Boney Bailiff" (one of a number of Irish tunes on a program otherwise dominated by more typical singer/songwriter fare) and "Síar ón nDaingean (West of Dingle)," as well as some songs about yellow birds and raven-haired girls. Hardy is backed by a strong but restrained folk-rock ensemble, and because the album was recorded live in the studio, it has a nice, loose-limbed feel about it. ~ Rick Anderson

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