Bury The Hatchet

The nearly man of American indie-rock returns....

The nearly man of American indie-rock returns. Minneapolis' Replacements could have and should have had it all - they had the tunes, the 'tude, and in singer Paul Westerberg a man with the looks of Jon Bon Jovi and the larynx of a teenage Lemmy. Sadly a prodigious propensity for excess meant they were lying on bar-room floors when they should have been on REM's bus to the big time.

Still, life goes on and with his third solo album comes another reminder of what a gifted songwriter Westerberg is. 'Suicaine Gratification' bears all the hallmarks of his modest genius - a habit of writing stunningly obvious tunes, a knack for wittily morose lyrics and the kind of beer-bellied bellicose hardcore that his imitators (The Black Crowes, Soul Asylum) could never quite carry off.

It's often painfully quiet and reflective, like acoustic opener 'It's A Wonderful Life', but is equally capable of lurching into cavalier rock'n'roll like MTV-bound beauty 'Lookin' Out Forever'. He may have jacked in the Jack Daniel's, but 'Bookmark', which suppurates like a boil on Tom Waits' bum, shows he is still one of the kings of closing-time philosophy.
3 / 10

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