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Marc Bacino | The Million Dollar Handshake (Parasol)
The fact that Mark Bacino was supposedly conceived to the sounds of the pure unadulterated pop of The Partridge Family's I Think I Love You won't surprise many listeners to 'The Million Dollar Handshake', Mark Bacino's sequel to his acclaimed DIY debut, Pop Job (1998). Titles like Bubblegum Factory (all twenty-five seconds of it!), Sunny Day, Milkshake Bossanova and Walking on Air exacerbate that light airy pop perception from the outset.
I'm not about to dispel those preconceptions, but should you have any prejudices about such things then it would be your loss - you would be denying yourself thirty minutes of simply wonderful pop music. I'm not going to pretend it's especially original and disposable it may be to some, but few artists hone their material this finely. This is the cream of Bacino's pop. Sweet it might be, but like many such things it's damned hard to resist.
Vocally and musically he's dabbling in Jellyfish territory (Rockin' Mood, Sunny Day) with a bow to the temple of Bacharach (Want You Around), and a few dips into McCartney's canon (Take Our Time) on the way. To take such blatant musical appropriation and then make it your own is a trick few can achieve with any degree of success. Bacino does just that and for those times a bright and breezy pick-me-up is required, provides a half hour tonic I'd recommend to anybody.

Geraint Jones
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003