First Appeared at The Music Box, November 1999, Volume 6, #11
Written by John Metzger
Magnet's Mark Goodman has an undeniable obsession with The Velvet Underground. For Shark Bait, the band's third release, Goodman persuaded V.U.'s legendary drummer Maureen Tucker to join the group for a pair of songs — the anthemic Over You and a swirling cover of Morphine's The Saddest Song. These are by far the strongest cuts on the album, and Tucker's presence definitely helps to take Magnet to the next level.
Nevertheless, the rest of Shark Bait is reasonably good, on several tracks (Drag, Rope, and the Wilco-like Trainer) producer David Lowery takes too heavy a hand in the recording process. The result is that several of Magnet's songs end up sounding exactly like something from Lowery's own outfit Cracker.
Where Shark Bait works best is when Goodman is allowed to filter his music through groups like the Velvet Underground, Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, and early David Bowie. He has a knack for capturing the dreamy atmospherics of these seminal '60s artists and redefining them for the '90s. At his best, Goodman builds unforgettable melodies and sets them adrift on a spinning sea of sound, and it's these songs that rank right up there with those from Luna and The Feelies.
Shark Bait is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box