Billy Talbot Band - Alive in the Spirit World

Billy Talbot Band
Alive in the Spirit World

(Sanctuary)

First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2004, Volume 11, #11

Written by John Metzger

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Alive in the Spirit World, bass player Billy Talbotís debut with his eponymous band, may not be perfect, but it does fare better than much of Crazy Horseís infrequent, and rather spotty, outings without Neil Young. Not surprisingly, none of the songs in the collection would feel out of place within the latter artistís repertoire, and this is, perhaps, the setís biggest weakness. From the country-tinged bounce of The Way Life Is to the swampy ballad Dreamer, Talbot boldly seems to invite the inevitable comparisons to Young, but while his collaborations with Rain Parade guitarist Matt Piucci often allude to many of the nuggets on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, they also donít capture the same lively, groundbreaking spirit that made that album such a classic. On occasion, Talbot does introduce an interesting twist to the tried and true formula ó Painting of a Man is shaded lightly with colors drawn from The Beach Boysí palette; Security Girl is splattered with spastically psychedelic mayhem; and Rainy Days hints at how a joint venture between Keith Richards and Pink Floyd might sound. However, his elongated arrangements ó only one track is less than 5 minutes in length, while a pair of tunes surpass the 10-minute mark ó never stray far enough away from the aurally heavy, lo-fi rock that forever has been Crazy Horseís stock in trade. In essence, while Alive in the Spirit World is solidly performed from start to finish and occasionally strikes some hauntingly beautiful chords, Talbot comes up short simply because he is too hesitant and never takes a risk without first balancing it with his safety net. As a result, he merely mirrors what has been done better on other projects of which heís been a part, leaving his own freshly unique perspective to linger somewhere in the background. starstarstar

Alive in the Spirit World is available from Barnes & Noble.
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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2004 The Music Box