April 26, 2007

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Umphreys McGee, The Bottom Half
Sci Fidelity Records, 2007

Midway between the quasi-rock-star jamming of My Morning Jacket and the uber-prog jamming of Particle sit Umphreys McGee, now on their fourth what-me-worry jamming record, a double-disc set. You canít seriously say you havenít heard of these guys by now, being that their PR army was giving away copies of Safety In Numbers like mini-comics at a Mormon bake swap, but just in case, that album was one of 2006ís most heavily buzzed, containing elements of, well, every style ever invented, its only common thread being Brendan Baylissí cool-breeze Steely Dan tenor. The Bottom Half is marketed as a B-sides collection with a bunch of studio outtakes, but the cynic in me suspects that itís a B-sides collection with a bunch of studio outtakes only released because they havenít written any useful new material in an entire frickin year ó at one point they start kidding around on-mike about ďdragging out a songĒ and you wonder how often that happens. Obviously targeted toward completists, newcomers will nevertheless find much to admire about the bandís approach to whack-a-mole-ing Jimmy Buffet, Blue Oyster Cult, Allman Brothers, Rush and, you know, every style ever invented. B- ó Eric W. Saeger