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Duane Jarvis

Far From Perfect – 1998 (Sire/Watermelon)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Duane Jarvis

Duane Jarvis is a veteran multi-instrumentalist, who's done time as a sideman with Lucinda Williams, Giant Sand and The Divinyls. On his sophomore album, he might appear at first listen to be channeling the Rolling Stones. "Love on a Minstrel's Wage" hearkens back to the sound of, say, "TRS Now!," while "Hat Check Girl" wouldn't be out of place on "Exile on Main Street." More generally, there's a persistent feeling of the country Stones' "Sweet Virginia" and "Faraway Eyes" that's aided and abetted by the at times eerie resemblance of Jarvis' vocals to Mick Jagger's and by guitar licks recalling the other glimmer twin.

Closer listening doesn't dispel these first impressions, but broadens them by revealing a fine roots rock effort. On 12 hook-filled songs, all written or co-written by Jarvis, he ranges from lyrically-sharp essays on the kind of guy he is (on the one hand, "Far from Perfect," on the other, "Mr. Dependability"), to the kind of girl he's looking for ("A Girl that's Hip"- but not too hip...), to what's going to happen once he finds her ("I'm Not Gonna Let You Break My Heart"). Jarvis' first release, "DJ's Front Porch," went almost completely unnoticed. This one deserves a better fate.