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Music Reviews

THE LOW & SWEET ORCHESTRA/GOODBYE TO ALL THAT (Interscope INTD-90056)

The Low & Sweet Orchestra can best be classified as residing somewhere in the dead manís land between folk, punk, and a late-night singalong in your local pub. "Goodbye To All That" is their first release and will very likely be regarded as one of the hidden masterpieces of the nineties someday. If youíre at all interested in the cutting edges of the folk world, find this disc while you can. Youíll have to look but the search will be more then worth it.

The seven-piece band consists of former members of The Pogues, Thelonious Monster, and The Circle Jerks among others. They were originally brought together just to fulfill a booking by lead guitarist Zander Schlossí previous group, which he disbanded after one show. Chemistry kicked in at that show and The Low & Sweet Orchestra was born.

The disc begins with "Pencils And Shades," a song which was written on the bandís second day together. "Worst Day" is hilarious with lines like "I found a lucky penny although I had to stick my hand in the gutter to get it, And I got no good luck at all" and "If I had a car that was runniní, Well, Iím sure Iíd have no money for any gasoline." "Miss Her Anyway" and "A Nail Wonít Fix A Broken Heart" would surely be classics if there were any fairness in the music world. "Identified, Detained, And Inspected" is a humorous look at being arrested.

The lyrics, and the depth of the details contained within, are one of the bandís greatest assets. "Dirty Freddy Johnson" is a biographical sendup of a tugboat captain from Georgia who drinks, curses, and sings dirty little songs while chasing girls and his one-eyed bull dog, Mr. Christian, around the docks. He wakes up one morning, his teeth fall out, and he stumbles out into the street and falls down dead. If you were sitting in a bar and heard that story playing out in the background you couldnít help but be drawn into the song.

The bandís other asset is their successful mix of instruments. Guitar, banjo, accordion, mandolin, cello, dobro, violin, viola, bass, and drums are all used to great effect within the disc.

You may not have heard of The Low & Sweet Orchestra before but donít let that keep you from getting a copy of this one.