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