November 12, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 41  

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Great Lake Swimmers
Great Lake Swimmers
Weewerk/teenage USA

On the Great Lake Swimmers’ self-titled debut, Tony Dekker, the breath and brains of the rootsy collective, sounds like the atmospheric spectre of folk music. Through sparse instrumentation and even sparser production, the 10 songs seem to bleed into the microphone. A soft hiss accompanies the standouts here: “Moving Pictures, Silent Films” rings with a guitar line that descends to the depths before being saved at the end; “Faithful Night, Listening” weeps with watery slide guitar tears.

However, not everything on the album is blue: “I Will Never See The Sun” sparkles with the energy of a street-performer, accompanied fittingly by crackly TTC announcements. The album itself moves at a pace not unlike that of half-drunk philosophies, maybe even slower. Fans of the three-minute pop song will no doubt grow tired of this, but if you have a little more time and patience, the music will either set or continue a quiet, reflective mood.

Overall, this is quite a fitting soundtrack for a long bus ride across a moon-painted Southern Ontario.

—Chris Crighton

The Big Zane Theory

Like Bow Wow recently did, Zane dropped the “Lil” from his name for his new album to show the world he’s a big boy now. Unfortunately for Mr. Zane, it’s clear that musically, he still has much growing up left to do.

Although The Big Zane Theory shows he has some potential, the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach taken with this album consequently makes for a very run-of-the-mill sound. Zane’s flow is passable, although nothing new; his slow, simple delivery putt-putts between hooks that all sound extremely familiar.

And unfortunately, for the last quarter of the album, Zane goes into total bubble gum mode to appease his legion of little girls from his “Lil” days, who undoubtedly swoon over the generously included Zane poster. Therefore, Theory is not worth buying unless the poster is what you are after.

—Ken Galloway

Jagged Edge

This Atlanta-based foursome has returned with another collection of R&B tunes. With soft, chillin’ beats and tones of treble, Jagged Edge sing about the same ol’ stuff — getting freaky with their “baby mamas.” Aside from some cool cameo features like Jermaine Dupri on “Shady Girl” and Major Damage on “Girls Gone Wild,” Hard is far from spectacular. They may be jagged, but this album is definitely not very sharp.

—Gabriella Barillari



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