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Persona Non Grata : The Fine Art Of Living

How often do you put a CD on and play it so much that you'd swear you were going to eventually appreciate it? Such is the dilemma I have with this offering from Neil Randall & Bruce Soord who have adopted the moniker of Persona Non Grata as their name. Time wise, I have given this disc far too many spins to make much of a difference to my initial impressions but would gladly do so again if guaranteed I would become acquainted with the subtleties I must have missed the first time around.

Beginning with an aggressive style that I simply found less than inspiring, the first phase of the album adopts a much more anxt ridden approach that fails to deliver anything remarkably unique or stimulating. The songs have that hard edge and a slightly dissonant vocal style suggesting to the listener that melody and harmony are not going to be in great abundance throughout. This is probably the most difficult aspect to appreciate on this offering unless you prefer your melodies a bit thin. Thankfully, the fourth track, "Lament For Mayer" introduces the first semblance of harmonious music after the somewhat disappointing sounds of the first three songs. "Parfait Amour" in particular features extremely dissonant, almost schizophrenic singing which I found a little uninspiring and probably the weakest track on the album. Song highlights would be the upbeat "Beachlife" with its slightly infectious beat and catchy chorus and "Water Machine" despite its very sparsely written lyrics. Somehow the song works for these ears but your mileage may vary. The final track, "I Wish That I Knew What I Know Now, When I was Younger" is a very mellow piece and features some very pleasant but all too brief piano playing from Randall.

Considering these guys form the major part of Pineapple Thief & Vulgar Unicorn whose previous music I must admit to not overly enjoying, I really only saw merit in 2 or three tracks throughout the albums 48.29 minute duration. Personally, I demand much more than that from any form of music. Compositionally, these guys have been around long enough to know how to write music. Whether you enjoy it more than I did may be helped by requesting a preliminary hearing before parting with the money.

Track Details:

1. A Thousand Julys
2. It's Not How You Play The Game, It's Whether You Win Or Lose
3. The Only Person I Hate More Is You
4. lament For Mayer
5. Parfait Amour
6. Russian Satellites
7. Gliders V1.1
8. (Water Machine)
9. Beachlife
10. I Wish That I Knew What I Know Now, When I was Younger

Added: January 25th 2005
Reviewer: Greg Cummins
Related Link: Persona Non Grata Web Site
Hits: 3316
Language: english

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