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click to enlarge Bruce Springsteen  - We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions  -  -  - Sony  -  - Inside the CD booklet for Bruce Springsteen's new folk - cover album is a weathered-looking photo of The Boss - and his sessions band, appearing to have caught a - moment in history. But upon further inspection, you - figure out that it's a staged event. The same can be said - for the 13-track tribute to folk legend Pete Seeger. Don't - get me wrong; the songs accurately capture the intended - post-Depression mindset, but the entire album feels a - bit forced. Still, "Jacob's Ladder," especially notable for - the jazz brass section, is a keeper because of its carefree - feel, which is missing from the majority of the album. - Then there's a forgettable "We Shall Overcome," with - Springsteen channeling his best Bob Dylan. The album - will be viewed, perhaps, as a needed digression for the - legend, but one that fails to live up to expectations.  - John Benson
  • Bruce Springsteen

    We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions

    Sony

    Inside the CD booklet for Bruce Springsteen's new folk cover album is a weathered-looking photo of The Boss and his sessions band, appearing to have caught a moment in history. But upon further inspection, you figure out that it's a staged event. The same can be said for the 13-track tribute to folk legend Pete Seeger. Don't get me wrong; the songs accurately capture the intended post-Depression mindset, but the entire album feels a bit forced. Still, "Jacob's Ladder," especially notable for the jazz brass section, is a keeper because of its carefree feel, which is missing from the majority of the album. Then there's a forgettable "We Shall Overcome," with Springsteen channeling his best Bob Dylan. The album will be viewed, perhaps, as a needed digression for the legend, but one that fails to live up to expectations. John Benson

click to enlarge Built to Spill  - You in Reverse  -  -  - Warner Bros./Wea  -  - Built to Spill has always been like a warm bath, neither - unpleasantly cold nor scorchingly hot. I've always wanted - just a little something more. I've been pleasantly - overwhelmed on occasion, like listening to their version - of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer," and generally pleased - with their accessible, jam-oriented tracks over the years. - Keep it Like a Secret was pleasant, yet - Ancient Melodies of the Future was forgettable. - But with You in Reverse, something's finally - clicked. Opening track "Goin' Against Your Mind" is a - fast-paced, 8 1/2 minute ballad that I could play on - repeat to no end. And the rest of the album ain't too - shabby, either, with Doug Martsch and the boys throwing - in ample honey-sweet melodies for the road and - dreamy, meandering guitar work that harks back to their - earlier albums' glory.  Matthew Schniper
  • Built to Spill

    You in Reverse

    Warner Bros./Wea

    Built to Spill has always been like a warm bath, neither unpleasantly cold nor scorchingly hot. I've always wanted just a little something more. I've been pleasantly overwhelmed on occasion, like listening to their version of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer," and generally pleased with their accessible, jam-oriented tracks over the years. Keep it Like a Secret was pleasant, yet Ancient Melodies of the Future was forgettable. But with You in Reverse, something's finally clicked. Opening track "Goin' Against Your Mind" is a fast-paced, 8 1/2 minute ballad that I could play on repeat to no end. And the rest of the album ain't too shabby, either, with Doug Martsch and the boys throwing in ample honey-sweet melodies for the road and dreamy, meandering guitar work that harks back to their earlier albums' glory. Matthew Schniper

click to enlarge The Flaming Lips   - At War with the Mystics  -  -  - Warner Bros./Wea  -  - To describe The Flaming Lips as eccentric would be like - calling a doughnut tasty or a circle round. This - Oklahoma-based band is as surreal as mainstream - allows, carving out a healthy niche of alt-rock that - amazingly balances between eccentric and anthemic. - Band visionary Wayne Coyne continues the trend with the - act's latest disc, At War with the Mystics, which - varies from Prince-like falsetto rock and soul ("Free - Radicals") to singer-songwriter softness ("Vein of Stars") - and an unexpected acid-trippy rock-jazz jam fest ("The - Wizard Turns On"). Coyne exists in his own musical - universe, where gravity in the form of - compartmentalization doesn't exist and expectations are - useless. The timing of The Flaming Lips' latest effort - couldn't be better. The only question remaining: Do you - realize the greatness of this band?  John Benson
  • The Flaming Lips

    At War with the Mystics

    Warner Bros./Wea

    To describe The Flaming Lips as eccentric would be like calling a doughnut tasty or a circle round. This Oklahoma-based band is as surreal as mainstream allows, carving out a healthy niche of alt-rock that amazingly balances between eccentric and anthemic. Band visionary Wayne Coyne continues the trend with the act's latest disc, At War with the Mystics, which varies from Prince-like falsetto rock and soul ("Free Radicals") to singer-songwriter softness ("Vein of Stars") and an unexpected acid-trippy rock-jazz jam fest ("The Wizard Turns On"). Coyne exists in his own musical universe, where gravity in the form of compartmentalization doesn't exist and expectations are useless. The timing of The Flaming Lips' latest effort couldn't be better. The only question remaining: Do you realize the greatness of this band? John Benson

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