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Staring at the Sun ()

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For pop fans, Peter Buffett's name will draw a blank, equally so electronica aficionados, even though the artist is electronic based and has won two Grammys over the years. Needless to say, though, we've all heard his music, even if we didn't know it, as Buffett composes prolifically for TV, film, and theater. However, beginning with his Gold Star album, the artist began adding his vocals to his music, and now with Staring at the Sun he unleashes an entire album of songs.The result is a lush, lavish affair, as notable for Buffett's instrumentation, production, and arrangements as for his singing. He may not be part of the pop world, but it's obvious he's well aware of it in its many permutations, creating a diverse set that's surprisingly homogenous in sound. The set opens with the sparkling pop of "Reminder," which encompasses Simon & Garfunkel styled vocals, a sly twist of post-punk drone, a Cure-esque bittersweet melody, and a hint of dancefloor rhythm; this is the obvious pick for a single. "Somewhere Else Today," in contrast, is all a swirl and underpinned by insistent beats, the best song Jesus Jones never wrote, and grebo for the modern age. Ersatz Spanish guitars slip in and out of the lullaby-esque "Where You Are Right Now," while the equally rock-a-bye "I Don't Have to Lie" suddenly transforms into a jungly, dancefloor-bound song. An acoustic ballad, a reggae laced song, singer/songwriter styled pieces, the dramatic shifts in dynamics of the likes of Radiohead, even hints of Buffett's preoccupation with Native American influences ("I Will Wait"), can all be heard within this extraordinary set. The vocals, ofttimes layered duet fashion, are charming, but perhaps too '70s singer/songwriter styled for modern tastes, yet the harmonics are gorgeous throughout. Add introspective lyrics, strong melodies, and Buffett's masterful electronic skills, and one's left with a glamorous set, laid-back, but bristling with creativity. ~ Jo-Ann Greene, Rovi Hide synopsis

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