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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Review: Sal Filipelli - The Last Generation Of Tape

Sal Filipelli - The Last Generation Of Tape
2009, Sal Filipelli

Sal Filipelli and his band are the Last Generation Of Tape. The singer/songwriter splits his time between California and London. His third album, The Last Generation Of Tape, is a highly subdued, occasionally quietly energetic collection of songs with unusual personalities.

The Last Generation Of Tape opens with Whims Of Change, a melancholic and self-subdued Folk/Pop tune that was a pleasant listen but not overly memorable. I Should Have Known shows a bit more energy. The presentation of vocalist Sal Filipelli stays on the reserved side, but his voice is extremely pleasant and there's a certain vitality and energy in the mix that makes it work. The song itself follows its own figurative drummer and may take a few listens to really get into. I Miss The Giggle is a bizarre bit of urban funk/rock that looks back at the glory days. Musically this is something of a wash; entertaining more for the surprise value than the musicality. Back Home has a quirky Alt-Rock sensibility to it, although Filipelli the vocalist sounds a bit out of place against the backdrop of the big guitar sound in the chorus.

Never Get Over You is a sweet doting love song with either an extremely non-conventional melodic progression or serious pitch issues in the vocals. It's not 100% clear which is which, and in fact both may be true. The song itself has some potential but just doesn't realize the full extent of that potential here. I Wonder is in a similar vein as Never Get Over You, although it becomes clear that the pitch issues are just that. Filipelli has a pleasant voice, and when wrapped in a full arrangement the pitch issues aren't as apparent, but on slow and less fully orchestrated tunes such as this one pitch issues/breath control raise their head. Out Of Sight fills out the sonic atmosphere with a more straightforward rock arrangement and some big, lyric guitar work along the way. This is another love song that's sweet in intent but perhaps a bit awkward in the lyrics. The album closes with Please Don't, a musical short that perhaps makes the best impression on the CD. It would be interesting to find out if a full song lies behind this short composition.

The Last Generation Of Tape is a project that struggles to get off the ground and never full gains flight but never stops trying. The best composition is the last, Please Don't, and (perhaps) incomplete at that. Sal Filipelli is an everyman singer; highly reserved in vocals but always emotionally involved. The arrangements are fairly straight up and decent. Sal Filipelli is the sort of performer you might hear at a coffee house or open mic. The presentation of the The Last Generation of Tape isn't highly polished, and the material isn't exceptional, but the musicianship is solid, and Filipelli gives his all in the performance.

Rating: 2 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Sal Filipelli and The Last Generation Of Tape at or, where you can purchase a copy of The Last Generation Of Tape. You can also download the album from iTunes.

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