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World Leader Pretend - Punches Review

by Kevin Wierzbicki

When "Bang Theory," the first song on this disc starts playing, you may have to do a double-take. Did I put one of my Verve CDs in by mistake? The vocal style, the orchestration, the Memphis-in-the-'60s guitar twang… but the (most excellently done) Verve mimicry disappears at the end of the track and is not to return. WLP main man Keith Ferguson (vocals, guitar, piano and more) is obviously very fond of the slickly produced sound that characterized a lot of non-heavy Top-40 hits in the late '60s and early '70s. Most of his songs, if they had been recorded 30 years ago, could very easily have been sung by any number of the era's hit makers, like say, David Cassidy. Yet the songs don't sound dated, nor are they throwaways. It's just that Ferguson's singing gives off an aura of reluctant pop idol that brings to mind a bygone era. And with the exception of drums, background vocals and a few stray percussion instruments, Ferguson plays all the instruments. There's that reluctant thing again: I'll do everything but credit the record to World Leader Pretend instead of to myself. "B.A.D.A.B.O.O.M." is the hardest rocking tune here and one of the most puzzling as well. Ferguson laughs, sings about monsters, and one can only guess what the title stands for. In the end it doesn't matter---Punches is infinitely interesting and listenable.

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World Leader Pretend - Punches

Label:Warner Bros.

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