April 2009

Jim Boggia - Misadventures In Stereo
Bluhammock Music BLU80033
Format: LP
Released: 2008

by Joseph Taylor

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

"Yeah, that felt like music," Jim Boggia calls to the recording engineer after the instruments fade on "Johnnie’s Going Down," the track that opens Misadventures in Stereo. I cranked my headphones to catch the response (sorry, couldn’t get it) and heard the reassuring sound of tape hiss. Misadventures is about lots of good old things, such as analog sound, real drums, romance, and the glories of melody. Boggia seems to have absorbed the sounds of great pop records from the last 50 years, and he borrows shamelessly and brilliantly from them. "To and Fro" includes a low-rumble Duane Eddy-style guitar line, and the trumpet line in "Johnnie’s Going Down" could have come from a Burt Bacharach arrangement. Boggia’s talent is to take his musical inspirations and transform them into his own literate and unique rock‘n’roll songs.

Perhaps it was Boggia’s reverence for the past that led him to release a mono LP of Misadventures in Stereo. Whatever the reason, it provides an enjoyable contrast to the stereo CD. The bass is a bit more focused and prominent on the LP, while Boggia’s multitracked backup vocals play a more supporting role in mono than in stereo, where they are often placed on either side of him. The music feels the slightest bit more energetic and organic on vinyl. Kudos to Bluhammock Music for releasing this music on LP and to John Baker for doing a fine mastering job.

Boggia has such ease with melody that it’s easy to miss how subtle and deep his songs are. Misadventures in Stereo is a beautifully crafted pop album that gets better with each listen. Buy it in both formats.