Boston Globe Review of Don't Get Smart
The Boston Globe
Tuesday, September 1, 1998
by Joan Anderman
Jim Infantino, ground zero of the Boston trio Jim's Big Ego, is one of those rare songwriters whose wit is as sharp as his sense of melody, and whose intellect is broad and beautifully skewed as his jumble of musical influences. "Don't Get Smart," JBE's recently released new CD, is a post-modern pop pastiche that blends Beck's raggedy funk-rap, Lou Reed's laid-back hipsterese, and Paul Simon's refined folk melodicism. The pieces are glued together with a fuzzy, lo-fi vibe and a great helping of Infantino's massively amusing attitude toward life. JBE's humor feels inevitable-rooted as it is in the profound human foibles and collective experiences. "This Message," for example, skewers a litany of mindless cliches (including the one used as the album's title) purveyed by mothers, politicians and religions. "Punk Junkies From New York" tromps all over the fashion cult of heroin chic, and "Cheat To Lose" is the inverted battle cry of an ungratified competitor. The ironic barbs are leavened with surprising swerves into tender terrain - "I Like To Watch" and "Love Everybody" are deeply winsome, level-headed love songs. "Don't Get Smart" makes the music world - in a singular JBE twist of meaning - a smarter place.