Gary Jules

By Peter Hemminger

“There’s no poetry between us/Said the paper to the pen.”

If this kind of cutesy singer-songwriter cleverness doesn’t send you running, you may find a lot to enjoy in Gary Jules’ sophomore effort. The quiver to Jules’ voice lends a much needed authenticity to his cynical and melancholy songs.

Jules mixes a wide range of songwriting influences, from Paul Simon to Elliot Smith, and if it’s not be groundbreaking, at least its pleasant. References to Los Angeles and Hollywood abounds, adding specificity to what might otherwise be vague depictions of sadness and longing, and uniting the album into a diary of sorts.

Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets isn’t likely to build more than a cult following. Jules doesn’t have the charisma his idols used to latch themselves to the public consciousness. He does have an innate sense of pretty chord progressions and catchy, if somewhat cloying, quasi-poetics. It’s enough to warrant at least an interest. The cover of Tears For Fears’ “Mad World,” featured on the soundtrack to cult-film Donnie Darko, though, is worth the sticker price on its own.

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