THE JIGSAW SEEN
Like their 2011 offering, Winterland, Gifted is a song cycle held together by the loose theme of the cold winter season and Christmas (but neither are Christmas albums per se). The LA-based long-timers visit a lot of places over a short time span here.
There’s a rave-up driven by the Bo Diddley beat, a Pet Sounds-y instrumental, some pastoral pop that’s reminiscent of XTC’s Mummer and Skylarking, a nicely-done cover of David Bowie’s early song ‘Sell Me A Coat’. ‘The More You Change’, a semi-rocker and the best song on the set, is Dwight Twilley Band meets The Posies. Dennis Davison’s voice is so similar to that of America’s Dewey Bunnell that I keep expecting them to launch into ‘Sister Golden Hair’!
Musically the album is consistently pleasing and there’s some clever word play in the lyrics. If there is a flaw, it’s that some of the vocal melodies fall a little flat.