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Robbie Fulks

Couples In Trouble – 2001 (Boondoggle)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Robbie Fulks

Robbie Fulks is a multi-faceted lad. Many who loved his early country albums were left cold by "Let's Kill Saturday Night," which had a lot of art- pop (slow, earnest, lyrically challenging songs that are the equivalent of an art house movie.) However, Fulks loved that album, and so the loosely thematic "Couples in Trouble" - entirely written and produced by himself - could have been titled "Art-Pop Rules." There's a little rock - "Mad At A Girl" is a great slice of power-pop, and "Dancing On The Ashes" is catchy. There's a touch of Appalachia ("In Bristol Town One Bright Day" and "Banks Of The Marianne" - although the latter ends with several minutes of soundtrack styled noodling.) There's no humor, and the complex stories can be difficult to fully grasp (fortunately, printed lyrics are included.) Fulks' biggest problem is that the marketplace has pegged him as a purveyor of humorous country songs. As a result, the people most likely to appreciate this probably won't hear it, and the people most likely to listen to it probably won't appreciate it. (Boondoggle, Box 1512, Lake Villa, IL 60047)