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Buy this album at ProxisCD OF THE WEEK (Oktober 2001) :

Mauro
"Songs from a bad hat"
2001, PIAS, 941.0011.020

Songs (Click the -icons for some small realaudio-samples)
 
cover, sleeve1. Let me know
2. Finish it all off (with love)
3. Can't fight it no longer
4. Ballad with one arm
5. She sits at home
6. A faint smile
7. Everybody's friend
8. Sky Tiger
9. Cover Up
10. Shot of Shame
11. Love Once Again

Songs & Lyrics:
Mauro Pawlowsky

Musicians:
- Mauro Pawlowsky (guitar, vocals)
- Herman Houbrechts (drums, backings)
- Jan Wygers (bassguitar)
- Anton Janssens (keyboards, backings)
Guest-musicians:
- Simon & Buni Lenski (strings)
- Jane Scarpantoni (strings)
- Carol van Dyk (vocals)
- John Schmersal (organ)
- D. Sardy (slide guitar)

Produced by Dave Sardy
Recorded in LOHO (NYC) & Mission Sound (Brooklyn)

Artwork : Marina Zurkow
Photo's : Exum
 

My opinion:

"Songs from a Bad Hat" is the kind of album of which it's hard to find things to say against it. It stands tall like a bunker, with foundations three stories down in the ground (in other times, I would've said "tall like a skyscraper", but one has got to adapt to the times, aint't it). The sound is vehemently referencing everything that used to be hip & cool & made a lot of noise during the seventies, from glamrock hardrocking monsters à la T-Rex or Thin Lizzy, and to everything that used to be hippie and was quietly whistling for a better future in the seventies, à la Nick Drake. Of course, this results in a somewhat anachronistic CD, but hasn't almost all exciting music that has been released the last couple of years been firmly rooted in a retro-sound? Just as with the last album of Soulwax it's a phenomenal sound, not by chance again a production of the David Sardy from New-York.
A sound alone of course won't get you ver far (unless you're aiming for the dance charts): songs is the thing. And there are more than enough songs with quality on it: there already have been four singles taken from the album, and I got the impression that there are at lease three more that could just as easily be released this way - if the funds of PIAS permit it: "Sky Tiger" and "Ballad with One Arm" are at least the equals of that other ballad that's currently a single, "Everybody's Friend" (although they don't have a Carol van Dyk in the backings).
As far as songs go, there's hardly a dip in the 11 offered tracks. Mauro clearly is on top of his game and knows the way to mould a song into a killer-melody (see for example the recent CD of Kris de Bruyne, where the song "Ik lach me Kapot" co-written by Mauro also adds an extra dimension), and - unlike in the days of Evil Superstars - weeding out the lesser ideas now also seems to be one of his skills.
A few reviews published at release date of "Songs from a Bad Hat" noted somewhat dissapointed that some of the "mad genius" and capriciousness of the Evil Superstars is not really to be found on this CD. Well, now it has become clear that those have moved to Millionaire. Instead of Evil Superstars with one CD that leaves you behind dumbfounded, we now get two - better delimited- CD's, that are both incredibly good and both give you an adrenalin-shot in their own way - better focused than the mix of 100,000 simultaneous ideas that was the Evil Superstars.
I still have to make my mind up about which album is the "CD of the year" for me, but that it's gonna be either Mauro or Millionaire, already seems to be a foregone conclusion ...


And your opinion?
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This album in the press :

- Alex van Loon voor Uptomusic : "... De jaren zeventig zijn geen loos begrip voor Mauro. ... Maar deze voormalige Evil Superstar vergelijken met de supersterren uit die tijd zou zijn songs tekort doen en voorbijgaan aan de frisheid van deze plaat. Net toen je dacht dat rock dood was, komt Mauro het tegenovergestelde bewijzen. 'A Faint Smile'? Een breed grijnzende (Alex Van Loon)!"
- Sasha Van der Speeten in Rif-Raf : "Wie beweert dat Mauro Pawlowski niet langer de chaotische freak van weleer in zich draagt, heeft ten dele gelijk. Mauro's solodebuut beperkt de gekkigheden tot een minimum, doch in de plaats daarvan krijgt u een zelden vertoond vakmanschap. Zo geflipt als Evil Superstars was, zo ontroerend en zo spanned is Mauro de solo-artiest.... "Songs from a Bad Hat" is de mooiste Belgische rockplaat van de laatste 2 jaar ..."
- jg in Rif-Raf (ed. fr.) : "Chien fou, dérangé et enragé, voir endiablé au sein d'Evil Suparstars, romantique sexy et pop chez Mitsoobishy Jacson, Mauro Pawlowski continue en solo son oeuvre selon la même logique imprévisible. S'il apparaît plus assagi et plus réfléchi, il n'en reste pas moins toujours aussi dérangé, et toujours aussi excitant ..."
- Peter van Dijck in Knack (Focus) : "Mauro heeft een goed evenwicht gevonden tussen moddervette T-Rexeske rocksongs met bluesy gitaarwerk en ontwapenende hartenbrekers met een countrysausje overgoten ... De CD mag dan lonken naar de jaren zeventig, hij is onmiskenbaar gemaakt door een kind van deze tijd ... Een schot in de roos."
- Jempi Samyn in Stage : "... een bijzonder gevarieerd album met en aantal zeer sterke nummers die overduidelijk het Mauro-waarmeerk dragen: zware riffs, keurig gespeelde melodieën, zware ritmes en een doorleefde zangstem, kortom alles was een goeie rocksong nodig heeft om de tand des tijds te trotseren, maar dan wel telkens met dat extra scherpe randje dat we van Mauro gewoon zijn."
- svb in Humo : "... De gewezen winnaar van Humo’s Rock Rally ’94 (toen nog met de Evil Superstars) heeft met "Songs from a bad hat" een kanjer van een cd afgescheiden, die een mens meteen zin geeft om de benen wijd uit mekaar te planten en het hoofd heftig op en neer te schudden. Dit is bijwijlen een echte headbangersplaat, vol hardrock die stamt uit de tijd dat spandex-broeken, poedelcoiffures en castraatstemmen het genre nog niet verneukt hadden en vette bluesriffs onder een poppy melodie de norm waren. ... Een grote plaat."

Did you encounter a good (or bad) review somewhere? Send it in !
 

Where to buy this CD ?

You can order this CD from a number of locations (prices researched on September 20, 2001, but nothing guarantees they still are the same when you read this).

Shop
Price of the CD
Shipping + other expenses
Total
Direct Link
Frontstage
799
0
799 Bef.
Frontstage
Azur
800
20
820 Bef.
Proxis
741
0
741 Bef.
Proxis
Atrecordings
--
3$
--
Netbeat
--
2,77 euro
--

The lowest price is in yellow, the highest in red. This price comparison doesn't take things into account like deduction of shipping expenses when ordering more than 1 cd, bonus points, differences in guarantees ... Shipping prices are those for customers in Belgium.

Have you seen this record elsewhere on the net, do you own an online-CD-shop with Belgian products in it, or if there's something wrong with my calculations : let me know.
 

More on Mauro:

- Mauro bio in the Belgian Pop & Rock Archives
- Management: Dingo Music, bman@euronet.nl
 

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