Leisure McCorkle

Jet Set Baby

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Singer/songwriter Leisure McCorkle is a firm believer in the Ric Ocasek/Peter Holsapple method of songwriting. Muted three-chord guitar riffs, nasally vocals, the occasional synth line, songs about cars and girls -- these are all trademarks of the early-'80s pop/rock scene that fostered the aforementioned influences. But with a sound so based in other artists' achievements, McCorkle might be robbing his own songs of their effectiveness. This can be heard in his slower material, when McCorkle seems the most willing to strum his guitar and let his material stand on its own. With only a minimal backing, these tracks stand tall on the strength of McCorkle's passionate voice and wealth of pop/rock tricks. But many of the other tracks seem too eager to follow a certain formula, which can be audibly pleasing but may not be the best direction for these songs. Several tracks could have benefited from less "wacky" elements, while McCorkle's quirky delivery seems forced when his natural singing style pokes its head out on the slower tracks. The one obvious plus is McCorkle's grasp of melody, which never fails to steer the songs into enjoyable directions, even when the approach seems all wrong. There is nothing offensive about the use of his talents here, but McCorkle doesn't fully exploit his songwriting skills. Instead, Jet Set Baby seems like a solid pop/rock record left in the hands of smarmy new wave revivalists, with occasional moments of powerful and raw emotion when McCorkle lets his guard down. ~ Bradley Torreano, Rovi