Recent listening, current

Monday, March 3, 2014

189. Donald Fagen / Morph the Cat (2006)

Morph the Cat is a good representative of the Donald Fagen solo catalog. It is every yard a Fagen product whose pristine sonics and glossy group choruses recall the perfectionist grandeur of Aja and underplayed soul vamps of Gaucho or Nightfly. I prefer the guitar on Morph by Wayne Krantz, his variety of techniques and effects, to the guitars heard on Sunken Condos. Fagen also rocks the Fender Rhodes, ringing in that classic Steely Dan sound. Some lyrical themes nod in the direction of the aged, slyly morose matters explored further on Condos. But at this stage, our heroes, perhaps, aren't as willingly resigned to their fates as they will be in 2012. Some of these characters make the best of the New World Order, however, swaggering into the 21st century as if it were still 1975. Like the guy who picks up the TSA girl in "Security Joan." Fagen is the only living writer other than Murakami who can write a guy into a one night stand at the airport. But they're not all success stories. Former showbiz kids make jaundiced appearances in songs like "The Night Belongs to Mona," or the the unwitting pokes whose night vices all lead them to meet the man in the "Brite Nightgown." You'll be in familiar company with the motley assortment, and all nine tracks are rendered in sparkling audio.

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