Male singer-songwriters have it tougher than most. In a genre with leading lights like Daniel Powter and James Blunt, the temptation is to dumb it down for mass consumption. Julian Velard fights that temptation wholeheartedly on The Movies Without You, a collection of literate jazz flecked pop. The highlight is easily the buoyant "Jimmy Dean & Steve McQueen," wherein Velard does his best Randy Newman impression. "Little Demons" sees him taking things in a smoother direction, but the lyrics are no less sharp: "Don't go out tonight/ The girls will eat you up/ They bark and they bite/ And their boyfriends beat you up." A rarity in the music world, Velard wants you to listen and think at the same time.
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