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Fundamental Elements

Untied (Soulthink Productions)

Given Bob Schneider's propensity for being a musical chameleon who dabbles in rap, twang, rock and everything in between, it's difficult to say that an artist is "like" him. But Fundamental Elements, née the Fundamentals (who have gigged with the Austin troubadour), channel Schneider's laid-back spirit and anything-goes genre-hopscotch on the new Untied. Lazy-sounding (but not lazily executed) guitar jams -- think "I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-went-to-class" nonchalance -- abound, influenced by the beachfront-relaxed folk of Jack Johnson and G. Love & Special Sauce's stripped-down soul-funk. (In fact, vocalist Russ Mohr's husky, rhythmic emoting resembles the latter group's singing.) Although the album runs a little too long and starts to sound monotonous somewhere in the middle, its overall atmosphere is as pleasant as an acoustic coffeehouse session.

 
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