Picks and Pans Review: Party of One

updated 04/16/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/16/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Nick Lowe

How apropos that title, Nick. Your solo albums and classic work with Rockpile showed us that there was no limit to how much fun one person could have, and there's still no stopping you, is there?

Sure, we've heard it all before from Lowe. Those dirty-as-a-mechanic's-overalls rockabilly riffs and hilarious lyrics still combine for a dizzying one-two punch. He fancies himself a modern-day Noah on "(I Want to Build a) Jumbo Ark" and pokes fun at our bigger-is-better world: "I'm gonna have to take extra cattle and swine/ 'Cause the beasts on each other/ Do love to dine."

Amid all this playfulness, there is a haunting return to the roots of Lowe's sound. The dreamy '50s aura of "What's Shakin' on the Hill," enhanced by Bill Kirchen's wistful guitar fills, is a stunner. "I Don't Know Why You Keep Me On" conjures up images of Lowe teaming up with a legend like Carl Perkins.

Lowe has talked about his coming out of a long career funk, lamenting that "writing songs is a dying art." True, but whenever you release a record, old friend, it eases our suffering. (Reprise)

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