Tuesday, February 19, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 96



Isaak takes break from TV to release new CD

If you've ever seen Chris Isaak in interviews or on his own critically acclaimed Showtime series The Chris Isaak Show, you know he possesses a wry, self-effacing
sense of humor.

Photo courtesy of Reprise Records

Singer/actor Chris Isaak releases one of his better albums with Always Got Tonight.

But in the last decade and a half, Isaak has been cranking out a series of albums that prove him a modern troubadour of heartbreak. With his roots-based sound, Isaak
has inherited the mantle of the late, great Roy Orbison (even though he doesn't quite have the Big O's operatic range).

Isaak had been around a few years before he made his first big splash in 1990 when the song "Wicked Game" was featured on the soundtrack of the David Lynch film
Wild at Heart.

Just a couple of years ago, Isaak got another cinematic boost when "Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing" was heard during the trailers for Stanley Kubrick's soft-core swan song
Eyes Wide Shut.

In between, Isaak and his crack band have consistently released strong albums that don't seem to fit within the parameters of modern pop, but instead have a timeless
quality that could fit as easily in the 1950s as in the 21st century.

Isaak's latest CD, Always Got Tonight, is no exception. Returning to songwriting and the recording studio after a year of concentrating his energies on his television
show, Isaak and company turn out 12 tracks that mine the depths of unrequited or lost love.

The album kicks off with "One Day," a rocking number that segues into "Let Me Down Easy," in which Isaak's vocals slide from a just-this-side-of-crying falsetto to a
mellow tenor.

Isaak might be accused of never varying from his trademark sound, but in "Notice the Ring" and the title track, he experiments with hip-hop-flavored rhythms.

Chris Isaak

Always Got Tonight

Reprise Records

4 stars

Ken Fountain

Senior Staff Writer

Post-rock lives on with the latest release by The Six Parts Seven. Slow-moving melodies and interlocking rhythm structures characterize the mostly instrumental genre.
Though Things Shaped in Passing bleeds with evidence of fellow Midwestern influences like Tortoise and Dianogah, it's still a beautifully written and recorded album.

The band's sound focuses on subtlety, on first listen sounding pretty bland. But after repetitions, familiarity builds from recurring themes. The album must be listened to
as an entire piece; individual tracks serve as movement within the project.

From the first track, imagination sets the listener out on a frosted blue morning drive down country roads.

By the song "Sleeping Diagonally," rhythmic drum throbs lose to soft piano chords in a sedated forgetfulness like forgotten highway turn signals.

By holding back ability, these nuanced sub-rock daydreams aren't cluttered by showmanship. The continuity of the album is helped by each track's ambiguous
disappearance and reemergence in modified form. Frazzled ends of fade connect organic sounds with hints muted by memory.

For those with a taste for the instrumentally evocative, the subtlety of Things Shaped in Passing gives the album a lot of playback value.

The Six Parts Seven

Things Shaped in Passing

Suicide Squeeze Records

3 stars

Chris Goodier

Daily Cougar Staff

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