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CD Review - Glenn Tilbrook & the Fluffers 'Pandemonium Ensues'

Uptempo beats suit Glenn Tilbrook, second from left, and his backing band, the Fluffers.
Uptempo beats suit Glenn Tilbrook, second from left, and his backing band, the Fluffers.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

GLENN TILBROOK & THE FLUFFERS "Pandemonium Ensues" Koch

Glenn Tilbrook's growing confidence in writing his own lyrics and his characteristically poppy melodies contribute to the innate catchiness of "Pandemonium Ensues," which comes nearly a decade into his solo career.

Tilbrook went solo late in his career, releasing his debut album in 2001, more than 25 years after he co-founded Squeeze, one of the United Kingdom's popular new wave bands of the 1970s.

He's not going it alone, though; his backing band, the Fluffers, add a lot to his uptempo sound. Bassist Lucy Shaw even sings lead on the disjointed "Product," which pairs choppy spoken verses with dreamy, fluid choruses. The rest of "Pandemonium" is pure Tilbrook in style, from the swaying "Best of Times" to the flamboyant energy of "Slaughtered Artiste," which careers forward so fast that Tilbrook nearly trips over his own lyrics.

Still, the songs that work best are those that truly sound like a group effort: The backing vocals and jolly singalong ending of "She Makes Me" is classic Beatles-inspired pop, while the driving keyboards and harmonies on "Relentless Pursuit" are reminiscent of Yes's radio hits. It may not be a Squeeze sequel stylistically, but Tilbrook's solo work is at its best when it conjures the collaborative feel of his previous band.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

Appearing Saturday with Spring Standards at the State Theatre (202-483-5000, http://www.thestatetheatre.com). Doors open at 7 p.m.


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