CD Review of Misadventures in Stereo by Jim Boggia
Recommended if you like
Raspberries, Emitt Rhodes,
The Shoes
Label
Bluhammock Music
Jim Boggia:
Misadventures in Stereo

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

I
f there’s any doubt as to Jim Boggia’s pop credentials, a cursory glance at his résumé ought to clear up any confusion: he started playing guitar at age five and got his first taste of professional experience backing such stars as Juliana Hatfield, Jill Sobule and Amanda Marshall. Striking out on his own with his solo debut Fidelity Is the Enemy – an album which revved his credibility into high gear through the presence of such luminaries as Aimee Mann, Emitt Rhodes and Wayne Kramer – Boggia was accorded the kind of kudos most artists take years to attain. His second effort, Safe in Sound, expanded his reputation and brought him that much closer to his big breakthrough. Whether or not Misadventures in Stereo proves steers him all the way to stardom remains to be seen, but regardless, it’s a deserving attempt nevertheless.

Truth be told, Boggia doesn’t necessarily offer anything new in the way he draws from the pop palette. In fact, most of his work, this new album in particular, find him revisiting sounds familiar to anyone who’s had even casual contact with rock and radio over the past three or four decades. The signposts are all too familiar, from the gushing choruses, hooks and harmonies to a plethora of reliable references that include the Beatles, the Beach Boys and the countless other pop practitioners that followed in their wake. To be sure, Boggia walks a thin line between emulating and imitating, but he does it assuredly and unashamedly as well. For example, he co-opts the lyrical talents of Brian Wilson’s songwriting foil Tony Asher for “Chalk One Up for Albert’s Side,” a wistful riposte to a school bully, and solicits a solo from Al Anderson for “NRBQ,” an affectionate homage to the revered guitarist’s ever-so-cool combo. He ups the ante on nostalgia by tearing into technology via “8 Track” and gets poignant and personal with “On Your Birthday.” In fact, the only offering to distract from his unfailingly sunny stance is the album’s final entry, “Three Weeks Shy,” a bittersweet narrative about a soldier killed overseas less than a month prior to the day he was scheduled to return home. It’s a notable departure for Boggia, accentuated all the more about the roll call of fallen soldiers recited as part of the song’s somber farewell.

Still, for all its musing and reflection Misadventures in Stereo doesn’t betray the lighthearted inference its title implies. For the most part, it’s an upbeat effort fueled on sheer exhilaration, both in terms of Boggia’s performances and his obvious devotion to the cause. That enthusiasm is manifest in the effort he’s expended, and it becomes a flawless formula that Boggia’s mastered most assuredly.

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