Review in Brief: Stories from Duke Puddintown - Greg Loop

DukePuddintown.jpgWhen I review a CD that I'm not enamored of, it's often because I hear something that somebody else might appreciate or because I think the artist shows promise.

So let me begin by saying that I think Pittsburgh-based Greg Loop shows a gift for lyrics on his 2006 album, Stories from Duke Puddintown. Take this lyric in "Rhythm Time," for example:

Spills and chills make for little thrills / In the pond live fish with gills / They double bubble, rubble bump / underneath a hickory stump

That's some fun wordplay, and it's repeated often on this 27-minute disk.

What's less compelling is the music. The music in general, garage-folk-rock, is OK -- a bit repetitive, perhaps, over the course of the disk, but it has an agreeable lo-fi sound. Loop's voice, however, is not supple and melodious. While it's too far off the mark to say that his melodies are writing checks that his voice can't cash, it is fair to say that his melodies range too far for his voice. (And perhaps I'm a vocal snob, but you should be used to that by now.) Given those comments, it's not surprising that my favorite track here is "Butterflies," a virtual instrumental showing off Loop's guitar work that sounds quite unlike the rest of the album.

The album will be of most interest to kids ages 3 through 7. You can hear samples here. And while I'm not really a fan of Stories from Duke Puddintown, there are enough good things here to make me want to hear Loop's next attempt.