A FEW people raved to me about
Pete Teo's debut solo album
Rustic Living for Urbanites, but I wasn't particularly taken with it. It
seemed to have a few basic ingredients, but originality wasn't one of them. Indeed, establishing yourself as an earnest
voice that deserves to have its
stories listened to is the biggest
challenge that faces all singer-songwriters.
So has he made any progress on this sophomore effort? Well, yes and no.
As far as I'm concerned, there's no doubt that
Television is the superior album,
but I'm not entirely sure it has
the staying power to be either a
commercial breakthrough or a
Things certainly get off to a
great start with the pedal steel-flavoured Lost in America (which
among other things references
William Blake) and it's not as if he
loses momentum with Shine (nice
piano work), Laura Nelson's Bridge (the melancholy track that ranks
as my favourite) and the ensuing
barrage of narrative songs.
The problem. is not so much a
Tack of quality with any given song, but the absence of variety
in terms of timbre, topics and the
I should probably also make a
note concerning the vocal inflections which may or may not be a
dealbreaker for some (I've generally got no problem with them,
but I do think they sound a little
thin on Carnival Hall).
There's no doubt that Teo has talent and a coherent vision, but this is
still not the great album he might one day produce.