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December 17 - 24, 1999

[Music Reviews]

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*** Archer Prewitt


(Carrot Top)

Given how busy Archer Prewitt is -- he's toured with Sam Prekop, is a member of the Sea and Cake, and also writes and draws the comic Sof' Boy -- it's remarkable that he had the time or energy to bash out a quick pop album, much less put together the meticulously arranged White Sky. This, his second solo album, is a lush melodic offering very much in the Chicago tradition of Prekop, Jim O'Rourke, and Prewitt's previous band, the Coctails. Prewitt's songwriting is more direct than that of Prekop, who tends to favor meandering instrumental passages, and far less cloying than the vacuum-sealed precision of O'Rourke's Eureka. There's a sense of hopeful melancholy running through White Sky that's particularly affecting. Songs like "Raise on High" and "Final Season" feature slick but not saccharine string and horn lines that complement Prewitt's steady baritone. Elsewhere, the lounge-funky "Shake" and the more rockist "Motorcycles" pack a gentle punch. But it's the epic "Walking on the Farm" that gives White Sky its weight, with a rich and sophisticated melodicism that brings to mind a cross between Jimmy Page's more orchestral Lep Zep arrangements and the Burt Bacharach songbook.

-- Ben Auburn
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