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The Visible Men

If you viewed the early '90s swing music resurgence as anything other than a film-fueled novelty, shame on you: Grow up; get a life and stop ordering something besides cosmos and other pseudo-martinis at your hometown's version of The Dresden. If, however, you viewed that little off-ramp on the otherwise dark grunge-filled highway as a missed opportunity to expand Gen X's musical horizons, then you are to be commended. And you'll be alternately rewarded and punished by The Visible Men's Love:30, a hit-and-miss little They Might Be Ween, They Might Not Be XTC exercise in piano ballads, jazz work-ins and introspective belly-button ogling from former members of Cherry Poppin' Daddies and the Specials.

Dustin Lanker's savant piano is mostly to be credited or blamed here, as he weaves non-hooks with some creepy lyrics ("puking in a paper cup," before the brilliant jazz ride-out on the seven-minute long "Paper Cup") and the sort of chord progressions and orchestral arrangements usually reserved for the second-album opera of a much, much bigger act. Dan Schmid, also a onetime Daddies member, helps flesh out the already fleshy song cycle, while relative newcomer Jordan Glenn lends smart yet often perfunctory percussive patterns to the plaid-to-plain-to-kaleidoscopic sonic plains.

More by Will K. Shilling

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