Album review

Walter Becker - Circus Money

Walter Becker - Circus Money

On the heels of Donald Fagen’s Nightfly Trilogy boxset, comes this from Walter BeckerSteely Dan’s less visible, but still major dude. Circus Money is instantly familiar. Rooted in the same human comedy that has long beguiled Dan fans, lyrically it’s sardonic, while producer/co-writer Larry Klein deftly massages the soundscapes.

Lacking Fagen’s emphatic vocal presence and crisp elocution, Becker instead delivers his richly detailed lyrics about New York nostalgia (“Downtown Canon”) and Hollywood hustling (“Three Picture Deal”) with conversational charm, buoyed by female chorales. As always, the delights are in the details: the Jamaican-inspired grooves of Becker and Steely Dan 2.0 drummer Keith Carlock, Dan guitar ace Dean Parks’ tasty picking , and Chris Hooper’s uptown tenor sax solos throughout. The record disappears as background music, but it comes alive at rock volume.

BUD SCOPPA

Rating: 4 / 10

(5/12 Records)


Newsletter


Editor's Letter

The 35th Uncut Playlist Of 2014


Weird serendipities aplenty this week: versions of "O, Death" on two albums I downloaded one after another, by Mike & Cara Gangloff and Bessie Jones; dovetailing into Sea Island overlap between Jones and Loscil. It makes for a nice blurring between time and genre with, say, the Gangloffs...