Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., April 12, 2002
Mike RosenthalMovin' In (Red Truck) Five, six years ago, when the supernova of punk's second coming began fading, all the young dudes wiped off the eyeliner and went alt.country. Now, five, six years later, the Ryan Adams of the world have outted themselves as pin-ups for the pure pop now generation. Austin's Mike Rosenthal looks to have donned the same jean jacket on the cover of both his self-titled debut and its follow up Movin' In, but the bright pink shirt underneath it on the new album coincides with the local songwriter's purposeful shift away from the raw, Richard Buckner-like material of 1999's Mike Rosenthal. This is a shiny, happier Rosenthal. Well, almost. Like Adams, Rosenthal is a melancholy boy with one thing on his mind -- his last breakup. Whereas Ryan is perpetually wistful, however, Rosenthal is workaday, Movin' In approaching Kevin Salem's rugged commingling of garage rock and melodic pop. Like Salem, unfortunately, Movin' In is more accomplished musically than its compositions are memorable. Stuart Cochran's keys and a percolating studio sound carry the LP's best song, "Shadows," while the perfect Benmont Tench opening to "Run" almost camouflages the tune not being Tom Petty-esque enough. The spidery bounce of "Alicia" is winningly Tommy Tutone at first, but when grouped with "Jezebel" and "Marianne," it soon becomes apparent that Rosenthal hasn't worked up enough imagery to distinguish his romantic foibles from those involving Jenny, Jenny.