Six Months to Live

Cleverness can turn unctuous at any given moment, which makes Greg "Soapy Argyle" Hill's decision to build a band on that quality seem dangerous indeed. Somehow, though, Six Months to Live, Hill's latest project, maintains its balance throughout this entertaining five-song preview of a long-player expected next year. "Eiffel Tower Man" is a veritable charm offensive, led by a smile-inducing melody, cheeky background vocals, and a fulsome trumpet solo. Elsewhere, "I'm So Very Blue" brightens up melancholia, while "Henry Kissinger" concerns a dog saddled with the unfortunate name in the tune's title. No wonder he never comes when he's called. Because Now is too brief (less than 17 minutes) to wear out its welcome, there's no telling if Hill and pals can keep cutesiness at arm's length for an entire album. But for the span of this teaser, Six Months to Live stays on the right side of clever.

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