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  Listen Up! 5/22/03 Listen Up!

Thursday, May 22

Various Artists, “Reggae Lasting Love Songs Vol. 3,” VP Records. Despite getting off to a promising start with Tinga Stewart’s Al Green-inspired take on the Bee Gees “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” and then a decent Mikey Spice cover of the Melodians classic “Sweet Sensations,” this compilation quickly descends into the Jamaican version of contemporary country radio, without any of the zest that makes Shania Twain stand out in that environment. Some of these people can sing, but the arrangements are bargain basement island karaoke.

Magnolia Summer, “Levers and Pulleys,” Undertow Records. There is a lot to like about these guys, but I wish the songs had more variety in the melodies. Live, they had more oomph, too. This album is a low-key downer from start to finish. I’ll listen to it some more, because I find them intriguing, but I’m not as excited as I thought I would be.

--Steve Pick

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