Friday, July 9, 2010

Steely Dan: Two Against Nature (2000)

(As published in the Times of Acadiana ... )

Steely Dan
Two Against Nature

Despite replacing such celebrated and high-priced session men of yore as Steve Gadd and Larry Carlton with lesser-knowns who do not number perfectionism among their virtues, Becker and Fagen manage to recreate a sophisticated, rhythmically varied jazz-rock that’s almost identical in texture to the one that made them so big in the ’70’s. They still sing and write pretty well too, especially on “West of Hollywood,” “Cousin Dupree,” and the title cut, each of which twists nostalgia, wry humor, and self-mockery into pretzel logic while leaving the question of what it means to reach middle age as an inveterate ironist unanswered. Rating: Three-and-a-half against nature out of five.

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