Listen Up: Wednesday, February 08, 2006
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Dilettante

Spun (Self-released)

By Caroline Collier

Dilettante is a quintet from Mansfield that recently committed five of its seemingly innumerable tunes to polycarbonate. The result, the e.p. Spun, is an intricate, spacey, sometimes-grating movement rooted in jazz fusion.

The quasi-experimental jazz gets a touch of the sultry, jet-set bubbly from lead vocalists Melissa McMillan and Betsy Seltzer (who also plays piano). Their hot pipes are aided and abetted by the musicianship and the lyrics. In the opener, “Barroom Brawl,” McMillan sings about a man down on his luck who chooses to hurl a bottle of booze in a blaze of self-destruction, and she manages to convey a good deal of empathy for the rabble-rouser. The song starts in a headlong rush — Matt Dixon’s racing snare strokes are doubled up by Seltzer’s keys. Even though the song’s backbone is slightly chaotic in that everyone’s playing a lot of notes at the same time, McMillan does a decent job of holding everything together with her passionate and richly detailed singing.

Most of the other tracks are equally mercurial. Grounded by bassist Jacob Mauser’s slap-heavy style, “Electric Light” is dynamic and ambient, while the title track revolves mainly around a heavy dose — possibly an overdose — of Zac Bryan’s fleet fretwork on the six-string.

The only perceivably minimalist track is “Naked Silence (Laid Back Funk).” Otherwise, Spun is the handiwork of a talented if occasionally overzealous band.


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