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Geoff Farina | Reverse Eclipse (Southern Records)
On his second solo album Geoff Farina takes the blueprint of the Karate sound and deconstructs it to its salient parts, producing a dazzling album of mini-masterpieces that shimmer and shake with a yearning romanticism and graceful propulsion. Stripping down the arrangements to just his voice, lead and rhythm guitar could have been disastrous but instead it only highlights just how strong Farina's songs are. They are slinky, vulnerable things filled with wit and mystery, with some of the best lyrics currently being written. Other writers would weep at the wonder of "Sometimes I think God should erase all memories to change the way we deal with times like these / That would surely be heaven to me / For you it would surely be hell, as to separate the moon & stars from the Atlantic's gentle swell." The words probe the structures of both love and language with a testy intelligence rare in rock while the music glides by with precise, coiled guitar solos, exquisite harmonics and glistening arpeggios. This is Jazz but Jazz riveted to the structures of the rock song. This music instantly makes you want to be sitting in a small apartment on the Left Bank smoking opium and debating existence. Farina is a mercurial, elliptical talent, who, if this was a fair world, would be a star. Forget about all those bands you read about in NME, this is the coolest music being made this year - it's only January and it's already wearing shades when all the other albums are wrapped tightly up in the folds of their clothing.
CWAS #7 - Spring 2001