Craig Ross

Dead Spy Report (MCA)

There are two possible results that can occur when a single artist performs most or all of the work on an album; either the thing is a muddy, self-indulgent mess or the triumph of a singular vision shining through. Thankfully, Dead Spy Report is an example of the latter. The disc was recorded largely by Ross at his home studio, with well-chosen guest appearances by a few kindred spirits like Brian Beattie, John Hagen (I'm hearing that cello everywhere nowadays) and Lisa Germano, but for the most part what you hear is all Ross. Imagine a young, unjaded Lindsey Buckingham and you get a pretty clear idea of what this album sounds like, as the two share both an almost uncanny pop sense and a penchant for using odd, whispery vocals and evocative percussion. MCA is touting the songs on this record as "mildly hallucinogenic," and for once, I think I'll have to agree with them.
4 stars -- Ken Lieck

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