Big Wu Folk Tales

This should really be a mess, as it's all over the musical landscape. Stylistically it touches on folk, pop, '70s prog rock, reggae, Afro-pop, Southern rock and bluegrass. The lyrics are full of goofy puns, jokes and Deadhead deep whimsy - when they sing "Where there's fire there's got to be smoke," in "Shantytown," you know they're doing more than simply inverting a cliché. "Minnesota Moon" sounds like Billy Joel attempting some English music hall and "Boxing Day" displays a Barenaked Ladies-like facility for smart, affecting melody and hooks. "Elani" sounds like Asia, but I'll be damned if the hook isn't irresistible. Like I said, it should be a god-awful mess but somehow, incomprehensibly, it doesn't suck. On the contrary, it's actually a lot of fun. Call it a guilty pleasure if you want, but it's a pleasure nonetheless. (Phoenix Rising)