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Brand New Bowie

Lucky Space People (Machine)
Todd Bowie

By John Bohannon

Bowie is a rather powerful name in music and it's about to become an even more powerful one. No ... no ... not that Bowie; I'm talking about singer-songwriter Todd Bowie. He has made an honest effort to gain his own credibility with his debut album Lucky Space People. After having an impressive résumé which includes being a tech for the Flaming Lips, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and, most recently, Beck, Bowie decided to climb out of the shadows and serve up a musical effort of his own.

To help out his solo efforts, it seems as if Bowie has gathered a rather "one-hit wonder" backing group. John Munson (Semisonic) develops a rhythm section on the bass along with drummer Derek Crawford (Starch Martins). He managed to round up Doug Corella and Donny Brown, two members of the former band The Verve Pipe, but don't let this be deceiving: Bowie is headed down a completely different route. His songs are pop, but only to a certain extent.

It seems as if he has given a shot at an intertwined style of many artists and has comes up with a quite distinctive style of his own. On the intro and outro tunes "Lucky Space People Part 1 & 2," you can tell that this man has been around the Flaming Lips a lot. It's a rather spacey instrumental that leaves an open range for the songs ahead, from the bouncy piano ballad that makes you think you're about to hear Dean Martin begin a duet ("Karmaphobe"), to the Elliot Smith influenced acoustic ballad ("Could Be"). Bowie has managed to garner many highs, without hitting any terrible lows.

The saucy lounge groove "Victoria" pounds the phrase Oh Victoria! / I'm so in love with you into the back of your head like there's no tomorrow - that's not necessarily a bad thing. The rhythmic hint of XTC in "Rise" and the Lennon-esque "Kingdom by the Sea" shine further light on Bowie's wonderful melodic voice. The first single from the album, "Holiday Fun," strangely enough, is the only downfall on the album. (Bowie does manage to squeeze a few short hidden tracks in there that he could have done without, but hey, that's why they're hidden, right?)

It has been said that Bowie has an extensive library of songs - more than 60 in fact - that he has collected over the years. If they are all as good as these, this man has himself one hell of a career lying ahead of him. But for now Bowie has left a notable first impression on the music world and a refreshing sense that good music is still being made.

Check him out at www.toddbowie.com and look for him in the upcoming months on an extensive tour.