Alibi V.18 No.24 • June 11-17, 2009 

Sonic Reducer

Eels Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire (Vagrant Records)

Hombre Lobo exposes the animalistic impulses that characterize the act of courtship. Eels frontman Mark Oliver Everett (aka E) can be a fragile, sincere and lovesick puppy. But he can also be a ravenous wolf (hence the album title), hungry for sexual conquest. The tone changes with the lyrics. Softly strummed, clean guitar accompanies Everett when he's playing nice, and deep, static-cloaked bass and organ signal the singer-songwriter's turn toward aggression. Gritty, sophisticated and from the gut, Hombre Lobo howls with passion. (SM)

Audible In Simple Intervals (audibleband.com)

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Power trios get a lot of credit when their sound is gargantuan. A six-piece should get just as much praise for making a record that's super compact. Lovely, four-minute nuggets dipped in guy/girl vocal duets and plunky guitar deftly avoid gaudy over-instrumentation. Songwriter Mike Kennedy keeps his melodies focused, crisp and shimmering. For as tightly woven as these songs are, they aren't particularly memorable. Being cute and being catchy are two different things. But In Simple Intervals does cultivate a feeling of omnipresent joy that makes the record worth repeated listens. (SM)

Cathryn McGill From the Inside (cathrynmcgill.com)

Cathryn McGill long ago established herself as one of New Mexico’s top vocal talents with her sweet soulfulness, worldly assurance and appealing stage presence. From the Inside captures the singer’s strengths, but this collection of 12 soul/R&B originals also reveals an equally impressive songwriting talent—another reason McGill is worthy of attention on a bigger stage than Albuquerque can provide. Co-producers John Rangel (piano) and Larry Mitchell (guitar) share some of the writing chores, but the most touching tunes are the ones McGill penned alone: “I Never Say a Word,” “I Used to Be Her” and the title track. (MM)

(SM) Simon McCormack, (MM) Mel Minter