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Five Chinese Brothers

Let's Kill Saturday Night – 1997 (1-800-Prime CD)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Five Chinese Brothers

The third album by this Brooklyn-based band marks the first timethey've gotten a song from an outside source.

The title track to their latest opus was contributed by Robbie Fulks, described by lead singer Tom Meltzer as "our friend and hero."It's an appropriate match. These two acts may not sound much alike musically (theBrothers owe more to Bob Dylan and Tom Petty than Buck Owens), but lyrically they sharea philosophy evoked in, among other places, the great silent comedies of BusterKeaton. Not coincidentally, Keaton is one of the other heroes Meltzer salutes in hissong "Three Cool Guys." As usual, bass player Paul Foglino contributes a batch of solidsongs, notably "Look At It Rain," and other Brothers get into the songwriting act aswell.

But it's Meltzer's quirkier numbers that give this group its distinctive flavor.The wistfulness of "Midnight At The Liberty," the plaintiveness of the blue-yodel styled "TheBoy From New York City, The Girl From Tennessee," and the hilarious cynicism of"Product Of Dysfunction" make for three unforgettable vignettes, and the collaborative "ICall My Pain By Your Name" is perfect pure country.

5 Chinese Brothers, like Robbie Fulks, are making catchy, clever, and strikingly original country music for an intelligent audience.