John Dufilho

In a dream world, John Dufilho's first "solo" album would be hailed by the major music media as a "return to form" for the songwriter behind the Deathray Davies and I Love Math. Rolling Stone and Spin would dedicate full pages of their October issues to the release, recapping the popster's rise to international fame and reprinting their reviews of his past six albums, including their foolhardy dismissal of The Kick and the Snare as "washed-out, half-baked tripe." (It's so hip to piss on a consistently successful band, ain't it, RS?) The dream scenario didn't happen, but you won't need those mags' attention to agree that Dufilho is full of the stripped-down, lo-fi charm that made the Drink With the Grown-Ups... so endearing in 1999. That makes sense, since DRD began as Dufilho's "I play everything in the band" project, so hooky '60s-style rockers like "I'm Outside" and "What Are You Waiting For?" deservedly sound like old DRD demos. Of course, it's nice to hear some experiments tucked between the throwback songs. The two-part acoustic meandering of "Nobody's Right, Nobody's Wrong" and the beautiful synth-string waltz of "Check The Engine" prove that Dufilho, even after writing a squazillion songs, still hasn't run out of ideas.

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sam Machkovech