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So, A Wise Guy Eh?

Various Artists
Coffee Table Music
(Cup Of Tea)

When I saw this album sitting in a CD bin for a dollar, I was instantly drawn to by its title for some reason. After picking it up and scanning the back for artists that rang a bell, all I could recognize was one, and it was through a remix association on another disc I owned (The Grantby mix of "Home" by Depeche Mode on the "Useless/Home" maxi single). Still it was a damn cool remix, and for only a dollar, I really couldn't go wrong. To help in the deciding matters, a couple other groups on the compilation had catchy names like The Narcoleptics and Brothers Grimm.

When I got it home and popped it into my stereo, I was even more pleasantly surprised. Not only did the music not suck, but it was quite good and made me glad I had taken the chance to buy it and came away with such a steal. While the title still holds interesting, I don't think that it seems to fit quite as well after listening to the music on the disc. Instead of being "Coffee Table Music," I would peg it more as "Pseudo Spy-Theme, Dark Alley, Smoky Lounge Music. Of course, that doesn't quite have the brevity of their title, and it probably wouldn't fit on the CD case as well. While there are 10 different artists on the disc, the general vibe stays pretty much same throughout, while managing to change up song structures and mix things up a bit. Listening to the all-instrumental tracks makes you feel like you're stuck in an old black-and-white crime movie (and some of the tracks may have been used as scores already) as the gritty, fedora-wearing investigator. It's moody and hip at the same time and I definitely wouldn't have sweated paying more for it.

Rating: 7