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Music Reviews

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Castle Talk
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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Geoff Farina
Already Told You
Southern Records

Rating: 5/10 ?

June 21, 2006
Ask anyone, and they'll probably tell you that Already Told You is "Geoff Farina's first release since the break-up of Karate." While that may be so, such a wording evokes the belief that Farina's present solo status should be considered as a mere bolt-on to Karate's steady discography. What's neglected is of far more significance than Farina's ensuing post-Karate awakening - the fact that the man has been churning out solo recordings that have reached similar great heights for years. So why should Karate's demise make any difference?

As it stands, however, such rhetorical statements provide Farina with all the help he can get. In the case of Already Told You, he appears to have ditched the jazzy twang that Karate eternally teetered on, and assumed the role of the unabridged American singer-songwriter. Gone are the inter-key guitar noodlings and stop-start rhythms that seemed to make any project Farina graced so instantly recognizable, as he relaxes his established musical personality in favour of a more direct approach.

Only when listening to Already Told You's brief (under ten minute) duration does it become noticeable that 2000's Reverse Eclipse was, for all of its credentials, a remarkably bouncy and buoyant record. Already Told You lacks Reverse Eclipse's finger-clicking swing, leaving an undeniable void that incites little other than discontentment. While polished, Farina's latest four songs are for the most part motionless, empty and uninspiring.

"Femmes Damnees" is a run of the mill opener, perhaps a bit too reliant on Farina's voice, which in itself is okay at best; calling the track a 'false start' would be being kind. In small contrast, the EP's title track is also its standout. His jaunty chords reverberate quite pleasantly, but in a simple fashion when compared to those of Reverse Eclipse. Any fleeting excitement it conjures is dissolved with its passing, as "Molasses to Rum" and "Kin of Carbons" present themselves as quite forgettable numbers.

Already Told You hardly seems worth it. While its material does contrast to Farina's earlier work, it fails to prove its own significance, which suggests that the concept of releasing these four short-ish songs by themselves was a bit hollow. Voracious listeners will be duly dissatisfied.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright



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