JIM'S BIG EGO: unpop for the unpopulous!

Left Off The Dial Reviews They're Everywhere!

The fifth LP from Boston-based trio Jim's Big Ego offers a humorous look at the process of constructing a song, then deconstructing it, only to reconstruct it again. The wry word play that Jim Infantino offers throughout the album is built upon a craft he developed since studying the Philosophy of Language at Haverford College. "I'm Lucky" is one song stands out as being particularly emotionally charged. Infantino proclaims "I'm lucky you left me, I know I'll never be the same, I feel a little sorry for whatshisname, I'm sorry you left me 'cause hey you really were a *bleep*, Im lucky you left me and I no longer want to scratch that itch" with just enough tenderness to balance out the bitterness driving the song. The song has a chorus reminiscent of Phish, but that likeliness would not dawn on someone who simply assumes Phish is just another jam-band with glow-stick wars. Jim's Big Ego might lose popularity if people continue to compare them to Soul Coughing and Ben Folds, but the heart of this band's following is cult-like so the underground word of mouth will further their popularity more than any comparison to some other band. It is difficult, especially with songs like "Math Prof Rock Star," to not think of the Barenaked Ladies or even They Might Be Giants; having said that, they truly do deliver an album rich in lyrical mastery. Those comparisons are not thrown around lightly, and it takes a perfect mlange of sadness and the ability to laugh at that sadness in order to create the secret weapon JBE makes use of so effortlessly. Songs that have music itself as a focal point (The Music of You, Mix Tape and Better Than You) are the melancholic tracks that epitomize this album best. The only reason not to own this album is if Ani Difranco rubs you the wrong way simply because you cannot digest the fact that there are artists out there who are in pain but want you to laugh about it instead of have you feel sorry for them. This album is perfect for those who enjoy sarcasm and a little bit of sad jangle thrown into the mix.

•Nessim Halioua
12/1/03