Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Pat DiNizio: Songs And Sounds

With The Smithereens, frontman Pat DiNizio made skillful, likable, extremely catchy music for nearly a decade. The problem: Nearly every song was interchangeable, and, while the band's sound was distinctive, it never showed any signs of evolution. With that group on hiatus for the moment, DiNizio has launched his first solo album with the stated intention of not sounding like a Smithereens record. The lineup would indicate that the transition has been made: For The Pat DiNizio Foursome, the singer has recruited J.J. Burnel, bass player for the punk group The Stranglers; Sonny Fortune, one-time saxophonist for Miles Davis; and Tony Smith, a former drummer for Lou Reed. All this and a cover patterned after '50s jazz sleeves would seem to announce the departure of the pop songsmith and the arrival of the serious artist. Fortunately, this is not the case. The album opens and closes with two songs from classic films—Bernard Hermann's "Where I Am Going" from Portrait Of Jenny and "I'd Rather Have The Blues" from Kiss Me Deadly—sung in a voice remarkably like Elvis Costello's, but the remainder of the album provides fresh variations on old themes. Unlikely either to disappoint or overwhelm, there are enough modifications and departures on Songs And Sounds to avoid a Smithereens retread, and enough familiar strengths to make it the solidly entertaining album that should be expected of DiNizio.


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