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The Boston Pheonix

Pairing Prophet with LA's roots-centric New West label (home of the Drive-By Truckers, Tim Easton, etc.) might strike you as peculiar until you consider that the singer-songwriter in question can be pretty peculiar himself, at least when it comes to mashing up genres. Ever since his days two decades ago playing guitar for cosmic country junkies Green on Red, Prophet has followed his own many-forked musical path. He's been invited to open shows for both Lucinda Williams and Heart (who covered his "No Other Love"), and his seventh solo album features contributions from folks who've worked with PJ Harvey, Frank Black, the Mekons, and My Morning Jacket. All of which should tell you something about the man's range, not to mention his taste.

 

AOM is a multi-colored brush stroke of taut rock moves ("Automatic Blues"), blue-eyed soul ("Heavy Duty," which nicks a recurring piano figure from the Beatles' "Hey Bulldog"), and radio-primed modernist pop ("West Memphis Moon"). "You've Got Me Where You Want Me" recalls Sea Change--era Beck, who may be Prophet's closest pan-genre contemporary. (Prophet's drowsy-with-a-cold vocals also echo Beck's.) No matter what territory he's staking out, Prophet's guitar playing is both tasty and tasteful, and a battery of support - from Wurlitzer organ and Moog synthesizer to horns, and a bona fide string section - keeps the sound wide and lush yet wonderfully intimate. Miracles just about lives up to its title: it's eclectic and cohesive, fresh and classic.

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by JONATHAN PERR on November 11, 2004 COMMENTS • Filed under CD Reviews (Age Of Miracles)