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Michael Penn 

Mr. Hollywood Jr, 1947

Published August 25, 2005.Michael PennMr. Hollywood Jr, 1947(Spinart)Uh-oh: a concept album. But this one isn't lofty or pretentious at all. The songs on this melodic pop effort are thematically connected, but not in an overt way. While the cover and liner (with its yellow-ruled paper, futuristic icons and typewritten lyric pages) signals this is a record steeped in the past. The music is gorgeous guitar, bass, drums, vocal harmonies and keys; modern rock in the same smart vein as Craig Northey/Jesse Valenzuela and Fountains of Wayne. There are lyrical nods to1947: "You had a ball in Edendale/I'll never guess who came/the guy who played the lover in the film without a name./He lavished praise upon you/and fetched umbrella drinks." This is mood, not specific detail recreated perfectly. It's a mood you can get totally lost in. —Sean Flinn

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