Tom Waits

Real Gone finds Tom Waits continuing his deconstruction of traditional song structure with an imposing series of ramshackle rumblings that nimbly skirt the divide between random noise and deliberately plotted soundscapes. Waits dabbles in several disparate styles -- the sturdy R&B of "Make It Rain," a Kurt Weill-like "Dead and Lovely," the loping reggae underscoring "Sins of My Father." The jarring, disjointed arrangements are mostly an instrumental hodgepodge, an unnerving series of repetitive riffs and plodding shuffles. Waits's surly rumble of a vocal underscores a theme of discontent ... and disconnect. Truly brilliant or simply bizarre, Real Gone lives up to its billing.

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Lee Zimmerman

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