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Spirit Of The West - Twoheaded
(Discovery)

When Spirit Of The West nails it, they can capture the spirit of an emotion and create a perfect song like 1991ís "Political." When they try too hard and flounder, they often end up sounding like a poor manís Midnight Oil. Maybe Spirit Of The West is the band with two brains; maybe a title like Twoheaded is trying to tell us something.

"Mildred" is a bright pop character study about a woman whose "days are filled with underwear and idle conversation." The guitar sounds strangely like George Harrison, and the harmonies beat the socks off "Real Love." "Tell Me What I Think" is another good pop tune with touches of flute from these Canadians, and the title track is a solid rock song with a singable chorus that namedrops Monty Hall and Tipper Gore. No raw deal for Monty here. But along with the middling pleasures like the ballad "Never Had It In Me" and opening track "Wishing Line," the successes donít manage to compensate for mistakes like the chorus of "Scaffolding," in which they sound like a less-polished Live. "Blood And Honey" is perhaps the worst kind of song: one that doesnít know what it wants to be. Veering from a Crowded House-ish chorus to that warmed over Midnight Oil sound on the verses and a quiet acousticky bit thrown in for good measure, add over-the-top singing, and "Blood And Honey" is an unmitigated mess. Such missteps do not take away from the quality of the albumís bright moments, but they do argue forcefully that two heads are, in fact, not always better than one.

YEAH YEAH YEAH, 1996