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Living Well is likely the most cohesive album to bear Rob Crow's full name on the cover-- he of Thingy, Heavy Vegetable, collaborations with mainstream alt-metallers and underground instrumental heavyweights, Clorox Wipes commercials, novelty-metal projects named for goblin appendages, goofy solo records devoted to arcane instruments, and the perpetually almost-blowing-up-huge Pinback. No slight intended to his "day job": Pinback are where they are because they're consistent and throw very few curveballs. Fans know what to expect; critics know what to say.Likewise, Living Well is remarkably consistent, carries plenty of commonalities with Crow's best-known project, and bears purchase if you own more than one Pinback record. Should you have never loved Pinback (if maybe you loved the quirk of his earlier projects), this record will probably leave you cold as well. Crow's worked well in many other contexts-- notably the Ladies-- because he's a remarkably talented but pop-minded and un-showy musician, and he's got that voice. On cluttered and quirky early records and side projects built on left-turns and showmanship, it's a beacon for a listener. On the pristine, nearly mathematical precision pop of Pinback, it can get a little vanilla. It's no surprise that, by himself and without a gimmick, he's made a pretty straightforward guitar pop record.Straightforward doesn't necessarily mean dull, however. Nothing on Living Well will blow your mind, but there are several great songs and always a few details to hold your interest through the lesser moments. Crow plays every instrument here, with only occasional drums, and mostly loops and drum machines. "Bam Bam" (recorded too soon to be a tribute to late wrestler Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow, alas), is a sparse guitar-and-voice arrangement that adds a galloping banjo in its final moments. "Over Your Heart" boasts a nearly imperceptible shift in key and rhythm, making it a serviceable pop song in passing, but more rewarding with closer attention. Even the tepid chug of "Burns" has a leaky-tire hiss and a few electronic bells and whistles, tastefully deployed to add atmosphere to what's essentially a demo throwaway. These small touches are the mark of a musician who gets bored easily, but doesn't forget his audience.

 

  • Bam Bam 1:23
  • I Hate You, Rob Crow (Album Version) 1:13
  • Taste 3:28
  • Over Your Heart 3:30
  • Up 2:26
  • Chucked 2:37
  • Burns 4:08
  • Liefeld 1:47
  • Leveling 3:26
  • Ring 3:35
  • Focus 3:19
  • If Wade Would Call 3:04
  • No Sun 1:31
  • I Hate You, Rob Crow (Single Version) 2:09

Rob Crow - Living Well [NEW][LP]

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