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  Listen Up! 4/29/03 Listen Up!

Tuesday, Apr. 29

Pinkeye d’Gekko, “Rhythm &Western,” Force MP Entertainment. A St. Louis band with a big marketing budget, these guys have plastered their name all over bus stops and sent promos out all over the place. Listening to it isn’t exactly a painful experience. They can play their instruments, and they wander around stylistically. But, there’s something a little off-putting about this stuff, a sense of detachment from the genres they’re dipping in. It sounds like a modern-day version of the Archies, but without the insanely catchy hooks or the soulful vocals of that one guy who sang all the bubblegum stuff. One minute they’re doing country yee-haw stuff, the next they’re channeling Queen balladry, and they never sound convincing.

Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, “Rahat,” American Recording Company. Rahat is the son (or was it nephew) of the late great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. While I’m not hearing quite the level of gravity in Nusrat’s best material, there is a whole lot more liveliness and pure joy in this one. This is the sound of a younger man discovering his voice, and what a goddam amazing voice it is. If you’ve never listened to Qwalli music, be prepared to have your mind blown. Rhythms are going all over the place, and the lead vocals climb ladders to all sorts of heavens.

--Steve Pick

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