George DeVore Wonderland (Puddin Pie)
Reviewed by Jerry Renshaw, Fri., Sept. 29, 2000
Wonderland (Puddin Pie)Strange. George Devore's second full-length, Wonderland, sounds fine from a sonic standpoint. The rock songs, such as the title tune, "Wait," and "Bend but Don't Break" muster a goodly amount of authority thanks to Devore's voice, which has an appealing and plainspoken Midwestern grittiness to it. Occasionally, the band gets carried away with studio-isms, digging deep in the sonic tackle box for the right lures, but for the most part their groove is sound. Fine. It's the songs, then, that don't exactly grab you by the shirt. Devore's lyrics are heartfelt and not so tightly coded as to be indecipherable; he's one of those boil-it-down lyricists who says what he has to say without mincing words. For this pop/rock idiom, however, the choruses should all but shish kebab the listener's psyche like a barbecue skewer, and Wonderland doesn't follow all the way through. It's not the kind of thing that's easy to put one's finger on, and it's not like the songs are obnoxious or unlikable. They're just hard to get behind all the way. It'd almost be easier if this disc forced you to dislike it; as is, it's inoffensive but not very memorable. Strange.