(Nothing says it better about the Nixon's Head CD Gourmet than the following review by Dawn Eden in Salon [salon.com].) 'When a band kicks off it's album with the intro of 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' and keeps pumping that riff throughout the number, the listener may make one of three assumptions. Either A) the band is too lame to come up with an original idea, B) they are record snobs, proud to wear their influences on their sleeves or C) they are record snobs proud to wear their influences on their sleeves -- and yet, amazingly, truly have something original to offer. In the case of Nixon's Head, the answer is C. Their use of the Beatles riff in 'Saturate', the leadoff cut on 'Gourmet', is a statement of purpose. It heralds a 14-course ear candy pig-out courtesy of some exceedingly choosy epicures of pure pop. 'Gourmet', the first full-length release from Nixon's Head, marks the return of the Philadelphia-based group after an eight-year hiatus. In their original incarnation, they made the world safe for alternative rock with such releases as the lighthearted 'The Doug Factor'. Since then, they have lightened their punk edge, moving on to song that have greater melodic and musical depth. (A good comparison would be 'English Settlement'-era XTC, though that is due more to shared influences than actual homage.) There is a refreshing lack of irony on ''Gourmet''. Admittedly, the more humorous tracks, particularly 'The Loving Finger' (sung by guest vocalist Dorothy Haug), would in lesser hands be downright embarrassing. Somehow, in Nixon's Head's care, such songs seem positively wistful. (It helps that Haug has the clear unaffected voice of a Pennsylvanian Emmylou Harris.) Although 'Gourmet' may not be, as it's cover boasts, 'five minutes ahead of it's time,' it can take it's place among the sharpest and freshest pop albums since Stiff Records ruled the earth.
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