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Perfect
ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES A MAYBE
(Rykodisc)

Way back before former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson was drafted by Axl Rose for the long-running farce that became "Chinese Democracy" Guns Ní Roses, he was still doing his best to re-create the wise-ass chemistry of the íMats in a band setting, first with Bash and Pop and then with a band he christened Perfect with typical tongue-in-cheekiness. Unfortunately, Perfect managed to release only one promising EP (1996ís When Squirrels Play Chicken) before the label heíd signed on with, Restless, shelved what would have been the bandís debut full-length ó a disc called Seven Days a Week. That discís title track ó along with Stinsonís reservoir of raw rock-and-roll grit ó survived to become a B-side to the first British single from Stinsonís debut solo album, last yearís surprisingly good Village Gorilla Head (Sanctuary). And, with Stinson freed from his obligations to Rose, Rykodisc bought the Seven Days a Week tapes, paid to have them mixed and mastered, and retitled the 10-song album Once, Twice, Three Times a Maybe.

With production by Jim Dickinson ó the same guy whoíd worked with the Replacements on Pleased To Meet Me ó itís no surprise that these tracks are more than a little Westerbergian in character. Whatís amazing is how consistently well Stinson, who was just a kid when he started playing bass with singer-songwriter Paul Westerberg in the Replacements, evokes the smart, self-depreciating, broken-soulfulness of his former band. He even sounds a lot like Paul as he strains to hit the high notes in the íMats-like songs "Making of an Asshole" and "Thing I Call My Life." Sure enough, "7 Days a Week" (as itís now titled) is the discís standout, with its driving backbeat and intertwining guitar melodies. But every track here is just another painful reminder of what Stinson might have spent the better part of the past decade doing if Axl hadnít come calling.

(Tommy Stinson appears this Sunday, January 30, downstairs at the Middle East, 480 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square; call 617-864-EAST.)

BY MATT ASHARE


Issue Date: January 28 - February 3, 2005
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