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CD Review: Jason Collett's Rat a Tat Tat

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The Deal: Fourth solo release from Canadian country rock veteran.

The Good: An alumnus of the fertile Broken Social Scene universe, Collett picked up some of that band's penchant for thrumming pulse-lines, sinewy guitar lines and off-kilter time signatures. He's also got a thing for classic '70s rock, and his best songs here blend those influences. The funky "Lake Superior" features Ronnie Wood-slide guitars propelled by a classic 7/4 BSS beat, while "Love is a Dirty Word" is Northern soul in 5/8 time and the syncopated bounce of "The Slowest Dance" updates George Harrison into his Traveling Wilburys years. Collett's warbling half-Dylan/half-Helm vocals give the winsome accordion waltz (and disc-highlight) "Rave On Sad Songs" Music From Big Pink cachet, and "Vanderpool Vanderpool" successfully taps into the sunny snark of early '70s Kinks.

The Bad: Now matter how mind-blowing for the participants, freshly minted couples can be tedium to everyone outside their two-person cocoons, and Collett's love narratives often devolve into "other" worship bordering on the saccharine. That's particularly true of the sugar-fest "Love Is A Chain," with its cheesy keyboards and trite "you are impossible/adorable" rhyme scheme. Collett's lyrics in general don't fare well in the comparison with his inspirations, his "you gotta walk light when you're steppin' in shit" from "Bitch City" being one egregious example.

The Verdict: It has its moments, but when it's not reminding you of BSS or its '70s icons, it's making you wonder why just don't spin those records instead.

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