Mike Viola is a power-pop lover’s dream. On the Lennon/McCartney divide, he shares John’s bent for self-lacerating lyrics, Paul’s propensity for airborne melody. Viola’s pop — sweet, but spiked with a pinch of poison — hasn’t yet garnered a large audience. But the cult that loves this songwriter will treasure this Acousto De Perfecto, an ideal display of his gifts. Take “Hair Of The Dog.” Set against jazzy chords, the tune shines like a new nickel yet sports sentiments as worrisome as a suicide note, with Viola moaning “I’m in a bad place in my head/ And I can’t get out of bed. In “I’m Your Dog,” he compares himself to a mutt who’ll “love you unconditionally,” in a way that sounds as demeaning as it does sweet. A downbeat gem of a record.
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