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Untimely Demise

Jeff Buckley
Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk

While this 2-CD collection could have probably been better represented on one disc, it's still an interesting smattering of songs from an artist whose life was sadly cut short. By now, everyone probably already knows that Buckley drowned just over a year ago, as he was readying material for a follow-up to his excellent debut Grace. The 20 songs on the two discs are taken from 4-track recordings that he made himself, as well as a studio session with Tom Verlaine and another set jamming with his band.

The first disc is the most cohesive, and on it's own is one of the better releases of 1998. The opening track, "The Sky Is A Landfill" is one of the best Buckley songs ever, and the tracks range from the bluesy "Everybody Here Wants You," to the bouncy "Witches Rave" and minimalist "You & I." It's a good batch of relatively finished tracks that serve nicely as an album.

The second disc falls prey to sound quality several times, but still has its highlights. The jam "Haven't You Heard" with a full band is another keeper, while "Jewel Box" and "Satisfied Mind" highlight the 4-track material. Unfortunately, several tracks suffer from both sound limitations, as well as their stages of development. Overall, there's about 75 minutes worth of great material on the two discs, as well as some tracks that are interesting for their novelity.

Rating: 7