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James Intveld

James Intveld – 1997 (Innerworks)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by James Intveld

James Intveld is going to have to be satisfied with the fact that you can't reinvent the wheel. He's got the whole 50's-era rockabilly thing down pat: His croon is impeccable, and his guitar fills ring clear and true throughout. That said, there's not much here that this California ex-Blaster can do to make himself stand out from the pack.

While his songs hew closer to form than those of era-imitators Chris Isaak or Dave Edmunds, they also lack any noticeable edge or innovation. Ballads such as "Perfect World" or "You Say Goodnight, I'll Say Goodbye" would sound right at home at any slow-dance sock hop or on any oldies format.

But sometimes you wish Intveld would cut loose from form and give us a real solo guitar scorcher, or invest his sigh- lyrics with some heavy sigh-and-cry. That's not to say the album doesn't have its moments. "Standin' On A Rock," a Rodney Crowell song some might recognize from the country-slacker film "The Thing Called Love," hints at the places Intveld might go, with just a little more push. And "Kermit Vale" is everything one might hope for. In this haunting ballad, two young lovers meetin a graveyard, only to discover their tryst spot is the grave of a young man denied the same love they've already obtained. But moments such as these are too few and far between. The liner notes say that Intveld played all the instruments on this record himself. One wonders if a band might not have pushed him farther.