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The Jazz Butcher Press Option (USA) - January, 1990
Album Review: Cult Of The Basement
Option (USA)
January, 1990

Credit: Bob Sled

Release: Cult Of The Basement

This disc opens with " The Basement ," a bit of spy movie surfedelia which reprises occasionally over the course of the album, like a theme. It's an appropriate expression of the not-quite-serious attitude the Jazz Butcher takes to his music. The sound is a witty amalgam of cabaret pop, '60s rock, wistful songwriting and a tongue-in-cheek knowingness. While his voice veers close to that of an overly sincere folksinger, there's an intimate smirk behind the Butcher's lyrics that makes even an apparently serious song like " Daycare Nation " seem suspect. A quick glance at some of the titles made me wonder if the Jazz Butcher wasn't becoming a Robyn Hitchcock wannabe (" Pineapple Tuesday ," " Turtle Bait ," " My Zeppelin "), but even oh-so-British character studies like " Mr. Odd " or " She's On Drugs " reveal an individual personality at work. Those latter songs offer excellent melodies, appealing textures in the guitars, and none of Hitchcock's overreaching for rhymes, metaphors, or weird phrasemaking. Though he doesn't seem to be making headway in finding a wider audience, Butch has again come up with a consistently engaging and successful record. (Rough Trade, 611 Broadway #311, NYC 10012)
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