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New music from past greats

Daily Staff ReportsVail, CO Colorado
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Bryan FerryDylanesqueVirginThe first track on Bryan Ferrys 1973 solo debut was a cover of A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall, so interpreting Bob Dylans material is not a new idea for the erstwhile Roxy Music front man. Ferry devotes an entire album to the pursuit on the charming Dylanesque, decoding several tunes in fresh ways as he filters them through his own penchant for refined, lustrous pop.The 61-year-old Ferrys raspy quaver hints toward the craggy edge of Dylans own. Ferry settles easily into renditions of tunes such as Knockin on Heavens Door, which are meticulously polished but not so slick as to have been drained of life. The smooth sonic contours and layered vocal beds that dress up Simple Twist of Fate are Ferry hallmarks, dollops of airy mood that complement Dylans sharp lyrics rather than overwhelming them.Ferry selected tunes strong enough to blossom under any conditions, but he enhances them with a distinctive style that makes his mellow, piano-laced Positively 4th Street as much a collaboration as a cover. Choices such as the atmospheric, driving All Along the Watchtower harness memorable Dylan articulations without making radical changes, but even on signature material, Ferry brings something of his own to the table. Thomas Kintner, Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service Sinead OConnorTheologyKochAlthough she no longer is riding heavy reggae rhythms or borrowing Rastafarian battle cries, as she did on her last album, Throw Down Your Arms, Sinead OConnor still has Jah on the brain.Just as her detour into Jamaican music was a chance to cast her faith in a new light and further separate God from the confines of traditional Christianity, Theology is two CDs of spiritual longing and questioning.The first disc, recorded in Dublin, presents OConnors latest batch of songs in threadbare acoustic form, while the second, recorded in London, adds drums, electric guitars and violins.Electrified or not, none of the songs leaves much of a lasting impression, at least not musically. Their strength lies more in their honesty and austere poetry, as OConnor, singing with her usual steely beauty, lays her soul bare before her creator.Perhaps most poignant is Something Beautiful, which opens both sets. Revealing her desire to make God proud, OConnor could almost be addressing a parent or lover: I wanna make/something beautiful/for you and from you/to show you/I adore you.By the end of the album, shes not necessarily any closer to understanding God, but you get the sense shes better for the experience. Listeners might not be so lucky. Kenneth Partridge, Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service Kelly RowlandMs. KellyColumbiaWhen Kelly Rowland released her solo debut five years ago, her former Destinys Child bandmate Beyonce Knowles hadnt yet become this eras biggest single-name superstar. In the wake of Beyonces mammoth success, a modest adult-pop album such as Rowlands Simply Deep simply wasnt going to be an option. Which probably explains why an early version of this disc was scrapped and the sassier-titled, sassier-sounding Ms. Kelly has taken its place. Its a mixed blessing, as one of Rowlands strengths has always been understatement.There are moments particularly the Scott Storch-produced Work, a rump-shaking retread thats essentially Dangerously in Love 2007 when Rowland follows a little too closely in Knowles spike-heeled footsteps. Among the other club offerings, only the synth-and-percussion-charged Like This avoids crunk-inspired cliches.But those tunes sound like what they likely are: window dressing tacked onto the body of this disc as a sales-motivated afterthought. The ballads that apparently deal with Rowlands ex-fiance, Roy Williams, are the broken heart of the album. They also eschew subtlety (lyrically, at least), yet the results show Rowland has artistic depth that keeping up with the Knowleses doesnt inspire. Dan LeRoy, Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service MaseratiInventions for the New SeasonTemporary Residence, Ltd.Post-rock, post-schmock. Its an overused and practically worthless phrase usually used to describe spacey sounding, slow-build bands that employ first-quiet-now-REALLY-LOUD dynamics and almost never have vocals. Think Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky, or their exalted grandfathers Mogwai.Maserati share much of those traits, but they employ it with such rock n roll, kickass attitude that they leave behind the sleepy boredom those bands sometimes induce in favor of driving, intense rock songs that actually go places. And they do it without sacrificing a drop of psychedelic atmosphere, if thats what youre after.The Athens, Ga. quartets outlook can perhaps best be summed up by their terse and sharp-worded position on vocalists. F*** vocals Maserati doesn’t have time for all that mess. Maserati is rocking a tight schedule and they refuse to be bothered by the conventions of modern rock-and-roll talking points like words…and front persons.Amen. Inventions starts the disc with a Police-meets Pink-Floyd guitar riff dripping in delay, but midway through the song bursts into a raucous, four-on-the-floor beat, complete with a faux-disco bassline. 12/16 tricks the listener by starting with ambient noise and whale-song notes, but just when you get comfortable, bassist Steve Scarbrough smacks you in the face with a massive slab of distorted bass. Drummer Jerry Fuchs matches him with thunderous toms, and though the band is adept at sliding back into a soft interlude, they always return with noisy guitar slashes and washes of feedback.Coley Dennis and Matt Cherrys guitars often fill the space where vocals would be, and they distribute buzz-saw squalls and quiet-storm effects equally to mimic emotions usually saddled to words. Synchronicity IV plays like a welcome sequel to 12/16, and Kalimera and Kalinichta serve as slower, percussionless interludes to pace out the album. Show Me The Season might be the albums best track, as an ingenious, quickly-picked bassline spurs the guitars and drums to whip up a furious racket around a delicate, melting melody.Maserati works because all the members intertwine so well, but the biggest difference between them and other post-rock (ugh, theres that word) bands is Fuchs. His propulsive, muscular drums charge the songs with an energy sorely lacking in their compatriots. Dont call them post-rock just call them rock. Ted AlvarezArts & Entertainment writer Ted Alvarez can be reached at 748-2939 or talvarez@vaildaily.com.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado


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