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Jack Beauregard - Everyone is Having Fun

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Artist: Jack Beauregard

Album: Everyone is Having Fun

Label: Tapete

Review date: Jul. 17, 2009

Jack Beauregard is actually the duo Daniel Schaub and Pšr Lammers (they borrowed it from Henry Fondaís character in the Spaghetti Western Il mio nome e Nessuno). Based in Berlin, the two combine electronics (Lammers) with guitar (Schaub) and a keen pop sensibility.

As might be expected given the ingredients, the songs on Everyone is Having Fun are crisp and clean, which is both a positive and a negative. While the production allows the details of every song to shine through, hard edges come to dominate.

Schaubís got a pleasant singing voice, and the duo has come up with some catchy hooks, but the songs as a whole arenít always fully developed. The chorus of "1st of March" is very memorable, but the rest of the song fades away quickly, just a repeated guitar picking and unchanging drum plod. Opener "Find Someone Else" is similar Ė at first catchy, until you realize that the guitar picking simply repeats over a 4/4 tapping rhythm.

The duoís eye for detail come close to making up for it. The bell-like tings, the delicately-applied effects, and synths floating in the background offer ample ear candy. And although the pattern of using one block for every verse and a second block for each chorus is used again and again, a few songs offer more complexity while maintaining the pop front and center.

Despite its six-minute length, "Any Snow" is the real winner here. It offers a more developed vocal melody thatís perfectly suited to Schaubís singing, and very pretty piano-guitar interplay. Itís not the only song here to remind me of Sparklehorse. Equally satisfying, "Everybody is Happy" slides adeptly between ironically ominous bass synth and chiming acoustic guitar plucking.

Some of the lighter songs come off too simple, with a glib prettiness thatís just not enough. "Wednesday" comes and goes, and the brief album closer "Ireen" leaves on a weak note. "I Like a Girl" is no better than its title bodes.

These weak links aside, thereís some strong pop craft on display here, with an ability to combine electronics with singer-songwriter fare in a way that, more often than not, sticks with the strengths of each.

By Mason Jones

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