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The Brilliant Mistakes | Dumb Luck (Aunt Mimi's)
The Brilliant Mistakes from New York are primarily songwriters Alan Walker and Erik Philbrook, with drummer Paul Mauceri completing the line-up. 'Dumb Luck', the band's second album, is one of those deceptive records, the kind that creeps up on you unawares, and I found myself coming back to it and enjoying its classic pop pleasures more than I had originally anticipated. Whilst the trio - particularly Alan Walker on keys - form the musical core, a multitude of guests make contributions on guitars, pedal steel and banjo, as well as brass and strings. With the piano taking lead, obvious comparisons could be made with Ben Folds Five and Joe Jackson, both entirely fairly. Although The Brilliant Mistakes also incorporate rootsy Americana influences like The Jayhawks - most noticeably on the album's opening cut Stupid Love Song - or even hints of soul on songs like Crawl Back and She's No Angel. Alan Walker's slightly reedy, nasal voice might lack range at times but, at its best, has an undeniable charm that suits the material. Perhaps veering a little too closely to middle of the road territory on occasion, The Brilliant Mistakes are nevertheless a very tight unit who know how to knit a catchy tune to a smart lyric.

Geraint Jones
July 2004