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Clarissa - Silver
(Mammoth/Atlantic)

A couple memorable songs do emerge on the debut by this vaguely rootsy three-piece band that includes former members of Snatches Of Pink and Let’s Active, though the lethargic tempos keep the sound well clear of H. & the B-fish territory. This is pretty important, considering Silver was produced by the man who has done the same for Hootie’s output to date, Don Gehman. Of course Gehman produced Life’s Rich Pageant and some other splendid LPs; as producer, he can be blamed only marginally for fleshing out a band’s own inherently weak creations. Unfortunately, a similar dispensation cannot be granted to those who should know better but nonetheless go out of their way to glorify Mr. Rucker & Co., and no names need be mentioned because that would gratuitously embarrass Peter Holsapple, John Hiatt, and Nanci Griffith. Yeah, come on aboard, there’s lots of room for us on the Blowfish-bashing bandwagon.

When Clarissa’s in a slow groove—and they’re playing slowly more often than not, though they don’t always find a great groove—they sound a bit like Buffalo Tom minus the pure pop bounce. "For You," "Out Of Flight," and "Sail Away" stand out a bit in the album’s first half with some fairly sharp hooks, but not enough momentum is sustained to carry things all the way to the finish line, especially not when the second half of the album sags. It’s rainy day music, and by no means of the worst sort. It won’t brighten every dark and stormy night, but then neither will much of anything with Fairweather in its title.

YEAH YEAH YEAH, 1996