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  Rock N' Roll Singer  
  Mark Kozelek  
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As a big fan of The Red House Painters, Mark Kozelek's band, i was excited to learn that he was releasing a solo EP. The man has a lovely voice, and his guitarwork is simple and yet moving.

However, after listening to this many times i have come to this conclusion: Kozelek needs a band to help him fulfill his vision. I guess that i had not noticed this need so much when he was surrounded by the rest of Red House Painters, but their absence is sorely felt on this EP.

Not to say that the songs on this EP are bad, because they are still a heck of a lot better than most of the swill i hear out there. However, well, they are stark. Sparse. Minimal. Kozelek's "i just woke up" voice and strummed guitar.

Except for the title track, Rock N' Roll Singer, which is, coincidentally, a cover of an AC/DC song. RAWK! And indeed, this song does rock hard. This is the only track that adds bass, drums, and, well, that "full band sound" to what is otherwise an acoustic folksinger-songwriter album. It is the only song that really lives up to the potential of what Kozelek is capable of. Is it that Kozelek has to raise his voice to be heard over the drums? Is it that the full sound compliments his voice better? Is it that Kozelek sings this song with such depth of emotion that, for four and a half minutes, even somebody so musically un-adept as myself really feels that overwhelming desire to sing?

I dunno, but there is something there. Some combination of emotion and drums and electricity pumped through guitar pickups that makes life perfect for just a little while. Wow.

Now, as to the rest of the EP. There are a total of seven songs. Three are by Kozelek, three are by AC/DC, and one is by John Denver. The bulk of the songs are standard "Kozelek muttering almost Stipe-like barely above the sound of his acoustic guitar". Personally i like his guitarwork and his voice. I find this a pleasant album to listen to as i sit and drink my morning coffee.

However, i know some people who find his voice kind of grating. I guess either you like it or you don't.

But that one song. Oh, that one song. I give this EP 4 sponges, a better than average rating, for Rock N' Roll Singer itself. The rest is just pleasant noise and a brief distraction, while that one song is a glimpse of perfection.

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