JAY BENNETT - Bigger than Blue

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This album does exactly what Jay Bennett needed to do: prove the value of having such diversity in his musical abilities. Unlike Wilco's new experiments and Farrar's recent lullabies, Bennett doesn't busy himself trying so hard to be artsy. He rocks when he needs to, and uses unusual engineering and distortion techniques only when it really improves the song (Reasons for You to Love Me is the best produced song I've heard in... well, forever maybe). That said, the album does take a little work to get into at first; don't expect to just listen to the first three or four songs and expect it to slow down. It's got a "whole album" effect to it, rather than just having a couple fast, poppy songs surrounded by mediocrity. What's more, it was apparently worth it to break up Bennett's projects into a four album cycle... so I especially recommend this album in order to really get the whole experience from all that Jay has coming out over the next several months.