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Bernard Butler: People Move On

Album: People Move On
Label: Creation/Columbia

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When The London Suede failed to collapse after his departure, guitarist Bernard Butler had to realize that the pressure would be intense for his first solo album. That might explain the almost apologetic tone of People Move On's title, but it hardly explains the album's slumber-inducing content. While Butler co-wrote most of the material on Suede's first two records, this project suggests that former partner Brett Anderson is the one with the gift for crafting memorable pop songs. That's not to say Butler doesn't try; if anything, he tries too hard on People Move On. With Butler producing and playing every instrument but drums and strings, the album constantly sounds like he's straining to leave an impression; he even centers most of these otherwise-unmemorable songs around guitar solos. Butler's work in that department is, as always, impressive, but his singing has all the urgency and insistence of an air conditioner. It doesn't help that his lyrics borrow heavily from the Gallagher brothers' book of elementary rhyming. Typical examples: "Lover I don't care if my feet are in the air," from "You Just Know," and, "I'm tired, I can't explain / All the troubled notions scrambling my brain," from "I'm Tired." Butler has talent, but this showcase is thoroughly dispensable.