February 11, 2010

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Citizen Cope, The Rainwater LP
RainWater Recordings, street date: March 2; digital release: Feb. 2

Being that he’s a lot cooler of a folk-popper, former Basehead DJ Clarence Greenwood doesn’t deserve all the Ben Harper comparisons he’s received. First off, when he’s on a reggae tangent it’s not the equivalent of a couch covered in plastic; you can actually smell the bong scrapings, like when he floats a truly trippy harmonica-sounding guitar into the ether of “Healing Hands.” Vocal-wise he doesn’t come across as some got-it-all-figured-out preppy either, more like Bill Withers playing to a scuzzy roadhouse filled with people he doesn’t quite trust not to start throwing bottles around (pay a little attention and he evokes Eminem reincarnated as a ’70s-obsessed hipster, as heard in “Lifeline,” where he nicks “Fallin’ In Love,” and I don’t mean the LaBouche remake). Another plus: fewer sexy winks to radio now that he’s on his own record label, a position on which he capitalizes by slurring to the point of unintelligibility in speakeasy-piano crawler “Keep Askin’.” A EWS