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Neil Halstead
Alternative Folk


In which Neil Halstead is finally able to show everyone that he is the real talent of Mojave 3! Hurrah! OK, maybe not: Anyone who has looked at songwriting credits on a Mojave 3 record will tell you that the idea of a Halstead solo record sounds completely pointless. Even a casual fan is led to believe that Halstead's band is his band -- meaning he writes the songs and calls the shots. With a Halstead solo record a reality, you have to fight the urge to throw your arms up in puzzlement because the wrong member of Mojave 3 has made a solo record. History says that the second fiddle goes off to release a work of his own; the one who writes most of the material -- or, in this case, almost everything -- doesn't need another outlet. But apparently listeners have been duped and Mojave 3 is more of a democracy than had been imagined. More importantly, Halstead is too prolific and restless to leave these previously orphaned songs unrecorded. So, after a relationship bust-up that left him homeless, he set up shop in a hospitable studio and made a record with some friends pitching in. One of those friends was Mojave 3 drummer Ian McCutcheon, so it could be said that this record is a la-la-la and a few bass lines away from a Mojave 3 record. It certainly doesn't sound that much different from a Mojave 3 record, if not quite as excellent due to the less than prime quality of some of the songs. Aside from a prominent synth shading here, an uncharacteristically loud burst of guitar there, and Halstead's preference to pick instead of strum, this is a logical, if rather slight, progression from the third Mojave 3 record. And that's just fine, actually. Andy Kellman

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