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The Invisible Man
Mark Eitzel in electronic sampler shock!
John Walshe, 10 May 2001
Mark Eitzel in electronic sampler shock! Before you rush off to ceremoniously torch your American Music Club back catalogue, though, this is not half as drastic as it sounds.
True, when the opening piano strains of ‘The Boy With The Hammer In The Paper Bag’ give way to some shuddering background beats, it’s a little on the unusual side, but Eitzel’s world-weary lyrics are as bitter/sweet as ever, by turns cutting darkly satirical swathes into modern society (‘The Boy...’) and celebrating the kind of real feeling and bruised emotion not seen outside of a Mike Leigh film (‘Can You See?’).
If anything, Eitzel’s discovery of modern technology has broadened his canvas and fleshed out his wordier compositions (‘Christian Science Reading Room’). It doesn’t always work: the patchy ‘Sleep’ sounds somewhat half-formed, but for the most part the technology-friendly approach lets some oft-needed (neon) light into his particular world of shadows.
Stylistically, The Invisible Man is somewhat akin to, although not as dramatic as, David Gray’s switch from Sell Sell Sell to White Ladder, although it’s still unlikely to convert Westlife lovers and trendy mammies to Eitzel’s cause. For those who enjoy songwriting at its best, however, The Invisible Man is as welcome as a Robbie Keane hat-trick against the swarthy Portuguese. Only don’t expect wild celebrations on the terraces.