Ian Moore: To Be Loved (Justice)

CD Review

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Nearly a decade and a half ago, guitarist Ian Moore managed to distinguish himself from the other skadillion six-stringers in Austin, Tex., scoring a plum deal with Capricorn and spending the next few years making rootsy Rock albums that generated good reviews and earned Moore opening slots with The Rolling Stones and ZZ Top. Most guys would have gratefully kissed fate's ass and called that a career, turning the familiar crank every two years to produce more of the pretty-damn-good same-old-thing. Somewhere along the line, Moore tapped into an inner reservoir of invention and ambition and created the stunning Pop sprawl of 2004's Luminaria, expanding his sonic range tenfold into territory that suggested Wilco with a Sgt. Pepper obsession. Moore's latest, To Be Loved, raises the stakes even higher, crafting a baroque Soul/Pop gem that connects the dots between the rootsy Folk of Grant Lee Phillips, the ethereal chamber hymns of Jeff Buckley, the psychedelic Pop of The Beatles, the sunny bounce of The Beach Boys and the expansive vision of Jeff Lynne, with exquisitely delicious dollops of Todd Rundgren, Jellyfish, Sparks and Bryan Ferry. They might not be actual influences on Moore or intentional reference points, but you'll hear them all and probably a few of your own as well. With To Be Loved, Ian Moore has created the sonic equivalent of a magically universal Willy Wonka gumball; almost any listener will hear traces of their own personal musical exposure in Moore's fascinating Pop architecture. (Brian Baker) Grade: A

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