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Mark Geary
GHOSTS
(Signature Sounds)

Signature Sounds has a knack for catching singer-songwriters like Josh Ritter and Erin McKeown on their way to becoming criticsí darlings. And with moody acoustic pop making major inroads into indie rock (see Conor Oberst), Dublin-born Mark Geary could easily be next on the list. A folkie at heart, Geary isnít afraid to dip into programmed drums and spacy electric guitar to round out his sound. But heís soulful enough as both a singer and a tunesmith that the looped beats and snatches of taped dialogue that show up on Ghosts donít sound like trendy affectations. His appeal is easiest to appreciate when he strips down to the essentials of voice and guitar on "Mid-Nite Sun," or in the simple beauty of a repeated phrase on "Whisper (Set Your Guns to Stun)." Most of Ghosts zips along on hummable, homespun hooks and gentle harmonies. "Youíre the Only Girl" could be a lost acoustic ditty from pre-Wings McCartney; "Fanfare" is a breezy alt-country rocker. Geary is susceptible to genre clichés now and then, but most of the time heís good enough to transcend them.

(Mark Geary opens for the Frames this Wednesday, March 2, at the Paradise Rock Club, 967 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston; call 617-562-8800.)

BY NICK A. ZAINO III


Issue Date: February 25 - March 3, 2005
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