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The Brilliant Mistakes
DUMB LUCK
(Aunt Mimiís Records)
Stars graphics

According to the chorus of their second albumís title track, New Yorkís Brilliant Mistakes are "leaving it up to dumb luck." What "it" is isnít entirely clear, but it sure sounds as if the groupís two singer-songwriters, keyboardist Alan Walker and bassist Erik Philbrook, left the writing of Dumb Luck to just that. Unfortunately, the duo, who met in the mid í90s while working in book publishing, and drummer Paul Mauceri fail to stumble on the luck they were hoping for. This probably would have included the ability to combine elements of their influences ó which include the across-the-pond sounds of Squeeze and Elvis Costello and the classic 12-string shimmer of the Byrd ó to form interesting and pleasant pop songs. Instead, the album comes across like an exercise in tame pop convention. Thatís not to say that itís without its share of catchy, harmony-laden vocal hooks (the rollicking, piano-driven "Let It Show") and soulful grooving (the dancy, Motown-ish "Crawl Back"). But for every lucky accident they stumble upon, thereís a handful of clichés that prevent the Mistakes from moving beyond a bland, watered-down tribute to their pop heroes.

(The Brilliant Mistakes perform tonight, February 12, at Billís Bar, 5.5 Lansdowne Street in Boston; call 617-421-9678.)

BY WILL SPITZ


Issue Date: February 13 - 19, 2004
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