ARTIST: Gary Flanagan
On his fifth release, Gary Flanagan incorporates elements of '60s and '70s folk and pop with the heavily '80s-influenced synthpop that marked his early efforts. The results are mixed; while Flanagan seems to be shooting for the serious songwriting depth of such legends as Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, or even Johnny Cash on such tracks as "I Walk Alone," his stripped down production and over-enunciated singing style draws attention to simplistic lyrics; "If You Must" suffers for similar reasons, but gets a pass simply because he switches from English to French halfway through the song. On the other hand, "A Sting of Mint" is more overtly theatrical, but manages to entertain with a cabaret-inspired take on synthpop that interplays bits of bleating trumpet with staccato keyboards, and "Foster's Park" uses layered falsetto vocals and softly bouncing pianos for an effect somewhere between Peter, Paul and Mary and a Medieval madrigal. If Flanagan's attempts to add more acoustic influences are something of a mixed bag, he's still quite capable at crafting traditional synthpop, as he demonstrates on the bouncy "Revenge," and better yet is his incorporation on "Romeo?" of just a hint of acoustic guitar strumming alongside the keyboards. While it's doubtful that goth and industrial types will enjoy much of Flanagan's work, fans of classic pop music -- acoustic or electronic -- will likely find something to enjoy here.
Visit Gary Flanagan's website at www.garyflanaganswebsite.tripod.com.
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