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Sound Check

3/19/2014

cd George MichaelGeorge Michael

“Symphonica”

Island

“Symphonica” is not, in the strictest sense of the term, a new album. The vast majority of what’s covered here is from 1999’s “Songs From the Last Century” and 2004’s “Patience.” The vocals are great, of course — nobody’s ever doubted that Michael could sing — but, while the album was mostly recorded in studio, pains are taken to make it “feel” live. Crowd noise is interspersed throughout the album but never completely jives with the clear, crisp track recordings, so it winds up being a jarring distraction. Minor distractions aside, however, “Symphonica” is a lovely listening experience. Michael’s cover of Rufus Wainwright’s “Going to a Town” is beautifully constructed and every bit as poignant as the original. That’s no small feat, regardless of who’s doing the covering, and is another testament to Michael’s vocal prowess. CV

 

HIV

CD Perfect PussyPerfect Pussy

“Say Yes to Love”

Captured Tracks

Every time I hear someone call Fallout Boy or Blink 182 “punk,” I kind of want to vomit. Punk music should ideally have something to say, but even if it doesn’t, it should still say it loud and say it quickly. I’m not completely sure about the former point, but Perfect Pussy has the latter down pat. Opening track “Driver” is two minutes and 16 seconds of unadulterated, balls-to-the-wall noise, the kind that makes you grab hold of something and enjoy the ride. And it’s not like the band lets up after that, either. Nothing on the album runs longer than three minutes, and the album hits its creative and sonic crescendo with the penultimate studio track, “Advance Upon the Real.” Two tracks later, the album starts a run of four live cuts, and the wheels come off a bit. But even in relative disaster, Perfect Pussy is glorious. CV

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