Can't Complain
(Zoe/Rounder Records)

BACON BROTHERS: Can't Complain (Zoe/Rounder Records) Many might dismiss them as just a side project, but anyone who is familiar with the Bacon Brothers' music knows it runs a lot deeper than that. The Bacons are just two brothers who started a group out of a mutual love for creating music. What sets this duo apart however, is that one of them is actor, Kevin Bacon. While sometimes an industry connection is a blessing, other times having a respected reputation to live up to can become a bit of a curse.

The 1997 release of Forosoco, a made up acronym, which stands for folk, rock, soul and country, still stands as a good example of the Bacons' musical style. With the release of their second album, Getting There, I quickly noticed that while the title might indicate positive growth, the musical progression was stagnant, almost backward. Here it is, two years later, and the Bacon Brothers are back with Can't Complain.

This time, I was hoping the adage, 'third time's the charm' would ring true. Unfortunately, I was let down yet again. It's almost as if the Bacon Brothers get mellower with each subsequent album. On a lot of the tracks, like "Paris," they were in fact, too mellow, especially with regards to vocals.

Then there's "Don't Leave the Lava Lamp On Me," a suspicious departure bordering on rap. This one would have been better in the hands of someone like The B-52's or Talking Heads. "Heart Half Full" sounds almost like a 50's or 60's pop standard, perfect for those awkward prom night slow dances. Meanwhile, "Summer of Love (Woodstock 99)" serves as a fictitious scrapbook, revisiting the less than peaceful happenings that went down at the most recent Woodstock.

On the title track, and "I'm So Glad I'm Not Married (To You)," the Bacons' tongue in cheek lyrics make you feel like you've been let in on a private joke. Still, even these tracks don't match the carefree spirit felt in previous similar ditties. Finally, with the aptly titled "Baby Steps" and the beautiful string filled ballad "She is the Heart," the old Bacon Brothers sound is nearly recaptured. Unfortunately, none of these tracks come close to the magic of their previous efforts, barely serving up any worthwhile musical Bacon bits.

© 2001 Janet Branagan
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