mic city sons
written by scott kohler

caroline, 1996
rating: **** (out of *****)

heatmiser's final effort is easily their greatest; it's an album filled with little pop gems, and with just a couple of misfires. of the album's twelve songs, elliott contributes seven and neil does five. at this point, it's pretty clear that neil is in a very unfortunate position.he's a good songwriter himself, but not many songwriters ever have to sit in (and be hidden by) the shadow of a writer and performer of elliott's talent. in those circumstances, some songs that may not be all that bad can seem shockingly inferior because of the company they're

with that in mind, it's not surprising that two of neil's songs on this one, "eagle eye" and, to some extent, "cruel reminder", seem even worse than they should. i hate "eagle eye", but "cruel reminder" isn't a bad song; it's just boring, and not much else on this is. "low-flying jets" is catchy but not very memorable, but "rest my head against the wall" is a very good song that is only slightly hurt by a lack of energy in neil's vocal. just so it doesn't seem like i have something against neil, let me say that his final contribution, "blue highway", is an unqualified great song that rocks and pushes its way into your head and stays there.

now, to elliott's songs. i don't want to sound like i'm going overboard, but they're nearly flawless. "plainclothes man" is one of his best songs ever, with a perfect acoustic guitar hook that keeps the song at the level of perfection from beginning to end. "see you later" is a bittersweet farewell with one of elliott's best melodies and a brilliant vocal. "get
lucky" and "pop in g" are rocking songs that clearly show the split between elliott the member of heatmiser and elliott the solo artist. "you gotta move" has a nice guitar line and a great tune; "the fix is in" shows hints of later songs like "no name no.5" (from either/or), but with a harder edge; and the "hidden" twelfth song is an understated but wonderful acoustic song that closes the album in high style.

buy this album. you won't regret it, and you might even like "eagle eye."