SEMISONIC: Feeling Strangely Fine (MCA)

What would you get if you took equal parts of Adrian Belew and early Todd Rundgren; and mixed it with Chilliwack, the pop side of Queen, and Ben Folds Five? The answer is the new CD from Semisonic. Feeling Strangely Fine is the second album from the Minneapolis-based trio, and I'm happy to report that they managed to avoid the dreaded 'second album slump.' The first single, "Closing Time," embeds itself into your brain the first time you hear it. It's classic power pop, but without the sugar.

"Singing in my Sleep" reminded me of the pop side of Adrian Belew, while "Never You Mind" almost sounds like a cross between Chilliwack (admit it, you remember them) and Todd Rundgren. The band makes use of a string arrangement on "DND" and "Gone to the Movies," but it doesn't get boring in the process. Most of the songs have a definite edge to them, along with a degree of seductiveness to keep things interesting. Feeling Strangely Fine stands up to repeated listenings; and to these ears, that's the real sign of a good CD.

© 1998 Steve Marshall