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Mark Eitzel
Caught in a Trap and I Can’t Back Out ’Cause I Love You Too Much, Baby,  Matador Records CD OLE 179-2, 1998

 Mark goes so low

Former American Music Club leader, Mark Eitzel, has landed with indie label Matador for his most recent long-titled solo release. By giving his album a sixteen word title, listeners might have suspicious minds about just which narcotic substance Eitzel was on when he got around to naming his album.

Although some stimulant may have coerced Eitzel into a little excess wordage for his title, depressants might be the drug of choice for his singing and songwriting. Once again, Eitzel applies his drowsy voice to low self-esteemed songs about scorned lovers and losers in life. Song titles like "Queen of No One" and "If I Had a Gun" point the twisted way to where Eitzel’s cloudy head may be floating these days. When Eitzel isn’t plucking his lonely folk-influenced acoustic guitar, he’s joined by alternative guitar-for-hire Kid Congo Powers and Sonic Youth’s drummer Steve Shelly for a little psycho ward noise.

But no matter how you dress up Eitzel’s music, his well established lonely guy persona always comes across loud and clear, front and center. What’s missing from Eitzel this time is a little of his off-center humor, which, in the past, always seemed to brighten even his darkest moments. If he would have actually sung that old Elvis tune, instead of borrowing it for this album title, Eitzel’s new recording might have been a little more appealing. Instead, our man Eitzel comes off just a little too much like a hopeless gloomy Gus.– Dan MacIntosh

Copyright © 1999 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.