Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fastball album review

Little White Lies
(MRI/RED Distribution)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s the modus operandi for Fastball, which returns after a five-year absence with Little White Lies. The Austin trio’s earthy rock sound was ubiquitous on alternative and adult rock radio a decade ago with “The Way,” “Fire Escape” and “Out of My Head,” off the platinum-selling, Grammy nominated All the Pain Money Can Buy. After three CDs on Hollywood Records, they released the solid, but little heard Keep Your Wig On via Rykodisc.

Songwriting singer/guitarist Miles Zuniga and singer/bassist Tony Scalzo usually divvy up the lead vocal duties. The same is true this time around, except Scalzo handled the bulk of ‘em and concentrated on electric guitar. Lies was co-produced by Zuniga and C.J. Eiriksson (U2, Jack’s Mannequin).

Old fans should find plenty to savor, namely the infectious, acoustic-based “All I Was Looking For Was You,” where the guys harmonize about a girlfriend search “from Venice Beach to Katmandu …all twisted up on ‘Bitches Brew.’” Celebrity culture is examined in the somber organ-drenched number “The Malcontent” as Scalzo decries the “pretty boys and plastic girls.” And the appealing, finger snapping “Mono to Stereo” ponders the merits of beautiful female busker in NYC.

Other standouts include the psychedelic swirls of Wurlitzer and Moog on “Always Never,” tense and mysterious “Angelie” (think Spoon), garage rockin’ “White Noise” and power pop-leaning “Soul Radio.”

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