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Amplifier Magazine ISSUE 34 · Jan-Feb 2003
ISSUE 34
Jan-Feb 2003

ISSUE 34 · Jan-Feb 2003

Mike Shupp
This Time
Private Mind (mikeshupp.com)

Toothsome: that’s Shupp’s stuff.  The former Big Bang Theory guitarist has just released his third solo album, This Time, and it’s a killer.  Shupp is a renaissance performer, cut from the Marshall Crenshaw/Tommy Keene cloth; his songwriting is unpretentious and straightforward, almost transparent (that’s a good thing) and devoid of clichés, if lyrically simplistic.  His hooks come easy, are unforced and populate each tune—from the title track, with its declarative power chord opening, to “Another Life,” “Set Me Free” (those shimmery acoustics in the intro are something else too), “Ordinary Way” and “She’ll Come Around” (one of the few numbers here with a guitar solo).  Glistening guitar lines caress melodic bass signatures; drums, cleanly and naturally recorded, are free of studio muck-up, adding to a live-in-the-rec-room feel.  Vocally, Shupp brings to mind the underrated Darden Smith, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe (minus his huffing and puffing) and Windbreaker Tim Lee—gruff but warm pipes, plaintive and honest sounding; when he sings, you listen and are transported.  The ability to come across as approachable, coupled with winning songs and smart, uncluttered arrangements, makes This Time a must-have.

— Larry O. Dean
( Jan-Feb 2003 )
Copyright © 2003 Amplifier Magazine  All rights reserved.

 
 

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Fufkin.com

Mike Bennett
Capsule Reviews:
December, 2002
Mike Shupp This Time (Private Mind)

The third installment of Mike Shupp’s continuing efforts on behalf of classic guitar pop songwriting. Let me throw out some names — Marshall Crenshaw, The Plimsouls, Firetown/Spooner, The Sighs — this album holds its own with those top flight acts. There’s no strong deviation in style from Shupp’s last album, which was swell. This is just a little bit better in every area — the songs are a bit sharper, the playing equals the songs and Shupp really engages his compositions with feeling. His guitar work is subtly terrific — listen to the lead guitar fills that he tucks into the verses of “Ordinary Way” that add color and texture. Shupp’s songs all share a smoldering drive that gives them a resonant appeal. Songs like “She’ll Come Around” and the title track push all the right jangly pop buttons, with Shupp folding in little melodic surprises amongst the bouncy guitar riffs. Again, Shupp plays everything but the drums, letting Chris Zogby repeat his skins work. To his considerable credit, you wouldn’t notice this fact without scanning the liner notes. This is an album that demands to be played loudly at home, but would also help you get your work done faster on your office computer. This sounds quite good now and will age quite well.

Mike Bennett
( 12/07/2002 )
Copyright © 2002 Fufkin.com  All rights reserved.

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Not Lame

The third and best record from Shupp, his previous two records are faves here but here is buzzing and crunchy guitars, soaring vocal harmonies and hooks in the vein of Matthew Sweet or Gin Blossoms are better honed and the performances more engagingly captured.  Refrains of Spooner and Tommy Keene are in focus here, too.  As with all his releases, the vocals are extremely strong and the production rich and thick.

Mike Shupp “This Time”

— Bruce Brodeen
Not Lame
October 29th, 2002

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The Journal

LOCAL MUSIC
By LOU KING
Special to The Journal

[M]ike Shupp, “The Key.” Savvy pop from a guy with great songwriting and singing chops. To record the guitar-heavy “The Key,” Shupp made a pilgrimage to Zion, Il, to record with Jeff Murphy, a member of the legendary Shoes. Something good must have rubbed off.

Lou King
( 12/28/2001 )

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Music Scene

Mike Shupp
The Key
(Private Mind Records)

Hailing from Washington, DC, Mike Shupp (formerly Big Bang Theory and Nickel) has opened for Tommy Keene in the past.  Now, it is not typical for something like that to leave a lasting impression.  But in the case of Mike Shupp, one can say that the power-pop veteran did somewhat influence his second album, The Key.  Which is really nothing bad, since Keene is an excellent songwriter.  Mike Shupp also has this delicate feel for to-the-point power pop numbers that don’t carry the word “power” for nothing.  Songs like “Keep Me Waiting”, “The Key”, “Right Through Me” are played with a real edge and have hooks that one is always happy to hear again.  The last could even come from Husker Du if the guitar were more intense.  Here and there, for example in “My Life”, one can also find a dash of the Replacements in the songs.

Robert Pally
( 8/2/2001 )
Copyright © 2001 Music Scene All rights reserved.

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Minus Zero Records (UK)

Produced by Jeff Murphy, this is a very fine, straight ahead pop-rock album with some extremely catchy tunes.  Great sing-along choruses to lift the spirits, and he plays everything himself, nearly…

Minus Zero Records (UK)
Spring, 2001