Picks and Pans Review: Happy Nowhere
This New York City group, led by singer-songwriter Peter Stuart, takes the traditional coffeehouse folk sound, pumps it up with the power of a dozen cappuccinos and transforms it into something very Top 40-friendly. Just like early Bruce Springsteen or recent Counting Crows (a band Stuart has spent some time opening for during their recent tours), Dog's Eye View features the perfect balance between folkie-style introspective lyrics ("I got here by killin' off all my friends/ I think I figured it out/ My life begins when the fun ends") and intensely energetic pop hooks. Even the more somber material never falls into the age-old folk trap of dreariness and self-righteousness because Stuart's melodies and attitude are so relentlessly catchy. If Pete Seeger had eschewed a solo career to front Gin Blossoms, the result would sound something like Dog's Eye View. (Columbia)
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