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From the first skyrocket notes of Dave Hole's slide guitar, the Australian's sixth album for Alligator Records is a sonic thrill ride. It helps that few musical sounds are as exciting as steel pipe on steel strings-especially since Hole's skills as a singer and songwriter don't match his incendiary musicianship. And Hole's got an edge over almost every other slide guitarist; when he was learning the technique as a teen, he broke his pinky and switched the slide to his left index finger, playing over the top of the fretboard. The greater strength and flexibility of that digit makes him sound like Elmore James on steroids, especially when he's copping James's "It Hurts Me Too" on "Outside Looking In." A surprising highlight is the star-crossed love ballad "Out of My Reach," where Hole sings a gentle melody on poignant lyrics supported by pretty, light arpeggios and saves his slide for a sweet slow solo break and fills. There's also the acoustic "Nobody," a low-key kiss-off that further proves Hole can be as gracefully unamplified as he can be thunderously cranked. Of course, the latter description fits the majority of this album's bracing, zingy performances. -Ted Drozdowski
From the first skyrocket notes of Dave Hole's slide guitar, the Australian's sixth album for Alligator Records is a sonic thrill ride. It helps that few musical sounds are as exciting as steel pipe on steel strings-especially since Hole's skills as a singer and songwriter don't match his incendiary musicianship. And Hole's got an edge over almost every other slide guitarist; when he was learning the technique as a teen, he broke his pinky and switched the slide to his left index finger, playing over the top of the fretboard. The greater strength and flexibility of that digit makes him sound like Elmore James on steroids, especially when he's copping James's "It Hurts Me Too" on "Outside Looking In." A surprising highlight is the star-crossed love ballad "Out of My Reach," where Hole sings a gentle melody on poignant lyrics supported by pretty, light arpeggios and saves his slide for a sweet slow solo break and fills. There's also the acoustic "Nobody," a low-key kiss-off that further proves Hole can be as gracefully unamplified as he can be thunderously cranked. Of course, the latter description fits the majority of this album's bracing, zingy performances. -Ted Drozdowski
933178000773
Outside Looking In
Artist: Dave Hole
Format: CD
New: Available $15.98
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From the first skyrocket notes of Dave Hole's slide guitar, the Australian's sixth album for Alligator Records is a sonic thrill ride. It helps that few musical sounds are as exciting as steel pipe on steel strings-especially since Hole's skills as a singer and songwriter don't match his incendiary musicianship. And Hole's got an edge over almost every other slide guitarist; when he was learning the technique as a teen, he broke his pinky and switched the slide to his left index finger, playing over the top of the fretboard. The greater strength and flexibility of that digit makes him sound like Elmore James on steroids, especially when he's copping James's "It Hurts Me Too" on "Outside Looking In." A surprising highlight is the star-crossed love ballad "Out of My Reach," where Hole sings a gentle melody on poignant lyrics supported by pretty, light arpeggios and saves his slide for a sweet slow solo break and fills. There's also the acoustic "Nobody," a low-key kiss-off that further proves Hole can be as gracefully unamplified as he can be thunderously cranked. Of course, the latter description fits the majority of this album's bracing, zingy performances. -Ted Drozdowski
        
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