Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach, kitchen sink
Once or twice a year I get a new album that's so good I listen to it over and over for days or even weeks, and this is one of those albums. Shawn Lee pays homage to Jimmy Webb with his cover of "Wichita Lineman" (which could have done without the Vocoder) and his reference to Galveston, Texas in "Peculiar Times," and his own compositions show a deep understanding of Webb's unique song structures. Lee is also a master arranger, with groovy basslines, well-placed wah-wahs, layers of strings, perfect little Bacharachian flourishes of horns and vocal "bop-bops". And as a drummer he's unbeatable. There's some Rundgrenesque blue-eyed soul going on in there too. A couple of the tunes drag a little, but most of the album makes for totally blissed-out listening.