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Oh! Mighty Engine by Neil Halstead
Released: Jul 2008
Label: Brushfire Records/Universal
Sleeping On Stones, Neil Halstead's 2002 solo debut, not only bested his fine work with Mojave 3 and Slowdive, it also remains one of the unsung classics of the new decade. Don't fret the exclamation point found in the title of this charming follow-up -- Halstead's songs (such as "Paint A Face," "A Gentle Heart" and the appropriately titled, ridiculously sincere "Baby, I Grew You A Beard") feature addictive choruses and sublime pop hooks, yet they remain as gentle as sleeping kittens. What separates Halstead from the modern pack is that his breezy material also has a real emotional depth to it.
Nick Dedina

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