Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors

Brett Dennen's fifth album, Smoke and Mirrors makes it clear that the singer/songwriter's spirit is clearly aligned with the troubadours of the early '70s. Before you even hear a note, glancing at the cover image of Dennen standing amid a sunny panorama of trees and mountains gives you an idea of where he's coming from, and the nature-boy narrative of "Wild Child" echoes that imagery. Dennen's gently optimistic songwriting also places him far from the postmodern pack—the openhearted love song "You Make It Easy" could've been an AM radio smash four decades ago. With Dennen's classic themes, predilection for fingerpicked acoustic guitar ("Only Want You"), and upbeat AOR indulgences ("Wild Child"), Smoke and Mirrors borrows from the past several decades of rock songwriting for a refreshingly contemporary result.

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