Picks and Pans Review: The Abominable Showman
Nick Lowe is a human synthesizer. His meat and potatoes are rockabilly, pop, blues and occasional bits of bluegrass, R&B and boogie-woogie. While drawing on the past without trying to reproduce it, Lowe substitutes puckishness for reverence and inventive, eclectic arrangements for slavish imitation. The result is an arresting synthesis. There is nothing among the oldies that is quite like Paul Carrack's squiggly, liquid organ riffs on Cool Reaction or Martin Belmont's short guitar break on Chicken and Feathers, which sounds alternately acoustic and electric (it's electric). Then there is Lowe's penchant for wordplay, groan-inspiring as it can sometimes be (good examples: Time Wounds All Heels and the album title). In Man of a Fool, he sings, "I know that for every woman who ever made a fool of a man/There's a woman made a man of a fool." In his fourth solo album, Lowe has confected another footloose and fortifying entertainment. Make that the indomitable showman.