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Amplifier Magazine

Amplifier Magazine ISSUE 34 · Jan-Feb 2003
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 )
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