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Michael J. Sheehy

Once the frontman for the overlooked and underrated gloom and sleaze factory known as Dream City Film Club, British singer Michael Sheehy went solo when that group called it quits in 1998. He brings to his solo work the same dark, wry vision that distinguished his old band, but minus some of the melodrama. These are gorgeously detailed guitar- and piano-based compositions that sometimes recall Nick Cave at his most vulnerable and least aggressive with perhaps a bit of a younger Tom Waits around the edges. Sheehy writes strikingly ironic, sometimes bitter lyrics that give his songs an added bite. Take "Just Love Me," the first song on his debut release, Sweet Blue Gene (2000): "I don't care what you do with her, just love me/if your girl don't make a fuss/bring her over, she could sleep with us/baby, you know I don't mind." His follow-up, Ill Gotten Gains (2001), continues in much the same vein, using traces of blues, gospel, and soul to give color to his jagged, gloomy tales of lonesomeness and hurt. Sheehy's arrangements have gotten a bit lusher, employing piano, organ, a bevy of stringed instruments, some poignant electronic instrumentation, harmonica, acoustic guitar, and abrasive fuzz guitar to drive home their melancholy points. Whether you want to be spooked, saddened, or just entertained, Sheehy's gothic pop delivers the goods.

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