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CD Review: CHUCK PROPHET

The Deal: Former Green on Red guitar slinger turns in another frustrating effort.

The Good: Since his solo high points, 1997's Homemade Blood and 2000's The Hurting Business, Prophet's records have been hit-and-miss affairs, killer cuts raising hopes that only get dashed against more saccharine fare or ill-advised experiments. He's best when he plays it straight and goes subtle with the accents: disc-opener "Freckle Song," is a slinky, mid-70s' Stones riff highlighting Prophet's considerable – and noodle-free – guitar chops; the twangy march, "Let's Do Something Wrong" should appeal to the devil whispering adulterous inclinations in everyone's ear; and "Would You Love Me," nails just the right mix of lonely ballad wistfulness and desert noir mystery.

The Bad: Too often, Prophet's arrangements cut his songs off at the knees. Previous hip-hop forays have been excruciating, and though there are thankfully none here, the aftertaste lingers like cigarette ash in your beer. The addition of a kids' chorus on a few cuts adds little here, and the processed vocals on, "Doubter Out of Jesus (All Over You)" were probably meant to be sinister but come out contrived. And though he gets the point across, lyrically speaking, Prophet doesn't live up to his surname. The title cut's Songwriting 101 conceit – contrasting adjectives like "dry hump/wet nurse" – is the most egregious example and bad enough to wreck what could otherwise have been a funky gem.

The Verdict: You sense Prophet has a truly great rock 'n' roll record in him, but this one ain't it.

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