Singer and songwriter Chuck Prophet has been ahead of the curve since his days with the devilishly cagey Green On Red. His latest solo album, the delightful Soap and Water, is another dance away from anything obvious, done so casually that he makes originality seem simple.
Prophet is the ultimate alternative hybridist. He uses rock `n' roll as a foundation, tossing in tricks and treats snipped from all manner of musical genres. Smart arrangements play with cliches - orchestras, children's choirs - yet somehow remain original, big and sweeping, embellishing the songs instead of overpowering them.
The heart of Soap and Water is Prophet's skill as lyricist. He is a manipulator of metaphor and novelistic detail, a master at the art of making unease seem soothing through his congenial singing and wry, subtle sense of humor. Understatement has rarely been overstated so well.