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Album Review | ROCK

Mike Gent, ‘The Rapid Shave’

For his fourth solo release, the Figgs mainstay calls what he’s doing “soft roll,” and his descriptor seems a fitting one, particularly for tunes such as “Smoking Guru” and “The Great Unwashed” (and it avoids the unsavory connotations that might arise were he to call it “soft rock”). Elsewhere, though, the roll gets a little less soft. “Shutting Down,” a song Graham Parker gave Gent for the record, exudes Parker’s vintage combination of full-tilt, barroom rock ’n’ roll and biting social commentary, and “Arriving in a Drum” adds a killer organ line to a Figgs-like base. “Last Boat to Japan” brings big rock sans roll; “Proper Opera” has an angular, start-and-stop vibe; “Feline Blue” is a tale of the disintegration of a cat lady’s life (“a mission of mercy gone horribly wrong”) set to epic rock. As ever, Gent is covering a lot of ground here, and as ever, his music has an inexorable, seemingly effortless groove. (Out now)

ESSENTIAL “Arriving in a Drum”

Stuart Munro can be reached at sj.munro@verizon.net
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