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Mp4- Days Since a Lost Time Accident

music review  out of 4 Music Review: Mp4- Days Since a Lost Time Accident

Artist: Michael Penn
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: February 2000

Review by LarryG
1½ stars out of 4

It's a shame that Michael Penn hasn't known much success since his hit No Myth from his strong debut record March. His 1997 CD Resigned was smart, edgy and varied but not too many people noticed. Sadly, MP4 doesn't deserve much notice. It's a cold, unexciting record.

MP4 starts well with the frothy Lucky One. It's fairly silly and now dated, with Penn singing about being "the luckiest in Luckydom" until the millennium comes, but fun. Patrick Warren, Penn's longtime keyboard sidekick, can be a little bit of a showoff but on Lucky One, he plays a good, simple chiming keyboard line. High Time, which is a little like March's Bedlam Boys, is probably the best song on MP4. It has the charm of a mellow late Beatles or George Harrison song. With a big beat and Grant Lee Phillips' "shoo-bebop" backup vocals High Time, which urges a friend who has long mourned a loss to move on with her life, has a light touch that's missing from most of the record. Footdown has a nice, relaxed feel, with background singing from Penn's brother Chris and a good edge and texture, from Victor Indrizzo's drums and Warren's atmospherics, of the sort which made Resigned work. The rest of the songs really drag. Warren's contributions are uncharacteristically restrained and the songs don't have much flavor. Penn's singing is inexpressive and his tales are almost unrelentingly sad. Penn is ever so serious and the songs aren't particularly illuminating. On Whole Truth, Penn slowly repeats again and again, "isn't it the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth", without illuminating any great truths. Don't Let Me Go has some interest for its portrait of obsessive neediness but the wallowing is too much after a while. Trampoline, Beautiful and Perfect Candidate are thoughtful but they're also downbeat and unappealing. Out Of Its Misery's music is a little more lively but Penn's singing is still humorless as he sings about another sad, troubled person.

Penn is probably never going to match the success or the energy of his debut, but on MP4, sometimes it sounds like he's given up trying. MP4 sounds mature and carefully made but it's largely lacking in any spark or energy and it's usually too gloomy to have much appeal.



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