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Mark Bacino
THE MILLION DOLLAR MILKSHAKE
(PARASOL RECORDS)

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Mark Bacino crafts uplifting, hook-filled pop-rock songs that are heavy on melody, instantly hummable, and deceptively simple. The background harmonies in " Downtown Girl " weave in and around layers of chiming guitars, thumping drums, and backing strings, all the while pushing the melody forward. " Take Our Time, " a slow-building acoustic number that gradually adds backing harmonies, cellos, heavy drums, and electric piano, works its way toward a mid-song crescendo before easing back into a sweet, lullaby-like finish. For the instrumental " Milkshake Bossanova, " a fun homage to í60s spy films, Bacino composes a melody that seems both fresh and familiar, with screaming horns, strings, vibraphone, those ever-present backing vocals, and flourishes of electric surf guitar. Although itís clear that the Queens-based songwriter has been inspired by the Beatles, he avoids any obvious lifts. His lyrics focus on fluffy, carefree boy/girl romance, but itís the music that counts here.

BY NEAL ALPERT

Issue Date: April 17 - 24, 2003
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