September 19, 2002

Test Spin: Peter Stuart

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In reading the liner notes to Peter Stuart’s Propeller, it’s heartening to read that the album is dedicated, in part, to the late Michael Hedges. Another plus is that Moon Zappa and Adam Duritz make guest appearances on the album. It was in that spirit that I popped Propeller into my discman and was ready to be wowed.

And then came the lyrics, “I don’t want to get caught with my plans around my ankles” and “She’s going to hell in a hand-me-down dress.” I was willing to overlook these little slips — perhaps write them off as a couple of those cute-isms that so often slip into modern rock (see: John Mayer). By the fifth track, “Vertigo,” complete with all of it’s “Doo do doo do” glory, I still wasn’t sure who he was impersonating, Third Eye Blind or Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas. Tracks like “Let’s Get Lost” try to push the album past it’s standard-rock borders with a saxophone part that’s nearly as flaccid as the accompanying organ tones. I haven’t heard an album that tries this hard in a long time. With luck, I won’t see another one any time soon.

Archived article by Nate Brown