Picks and Pans Review: Healing Bones

updated 10/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jules Shear

Jules Shear writes crafty, unforgettable pop melodies, but what really makes his work endearing is his imperfect voice: He's always struggling to hit the notes and usually ends up falling a bit flat. His vocals make him seem vulnerable and a bit insecure, a perfect match for lyrics about luckless, hopeless romantics. Bones is Shear's 10th and most satisfying album. It strikes a nice balance between bouncy tunes like "Listen to What She Says" and "A Bird in That Cage" and spare, sentimental ballads such as "Heaven/Hell" and the title track. Mix this knack for ingratiating melodies, his charmingly flawed singing and confessional lyrics like "A prayer for those not here/ The ones who somehow disappear/ And I can find them everywhere," and you have one distinctive disc. (Island)

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