Pop prodigy Jim Boggia knows his craft like nobody\'s business, and just as importantly he never stops improving his game.
Though his third album, 2008\'s Misadventures in Stereo, isn\'t as star-sprinkled an affair as 2005\'s Safe in Sound (who else would persuade Aimee Mann, Emitt Rhodes, and Wayne Kramer to appear on the same disc?), this is the tightest and most coherent set of songs that Boggia has delivered to date.
Boggia\'s pure pop obsessions haven\'t changed much -- the man still lives for hooks and harmonies, and the Beatles and Beach Boys references are on board as well -- but he\'s added a few new flavors to the mix (including an homage to NRBQ that features a guitar solo from Al Anderson himself) and when he rocks out (as he does on \"8 Track\" and \"To and Fro\"), he connects with muscle and authority without leaving his tuneful side in the dust.
Thematically, Misadventures in Stereo was imagined as an LP with two distinct sides (so much so that Boggia has arranged for the album to be released on vinyl with an original monophonic mix) -- the first five tunes focus on love, relationships, and other personal affairs, while the second half concerns itself with the bits and pieces of other people\'s lives, from a geek getting even with the school bully (\"Chalk One Up for Albert\'s Side,\" co-written with Beach Boys lyricist Tony Asher) and the joys and annoyances of obsolete audio technology (\"8 Track\") to a family struggling to come to terms with the death of a young soldier who was due to be shipped home from Iraq in less than a month (\"Three Weeks Shy\").
Misadventures in Stereo occasionally deals with more somber subject matter than Boggia has confronted with in the past, but the material isn\'t morose so much as it\'s aware of the stakes on life in the Modern World even as the music has one foot in another era, and with Boggia working with a smaller circle of musicians this time, the sessions have a snappier and more coherent sound than his previous albums, as fine as they were, and there\'s more than enough comic relief to keep listeners from tuning out. Misadventures in Stereo is clever and beautifully rendered pop from a modern master of the form, and if you keep wishing that Emitt Rhodes would make another album some day, at his peak Boggia sounds like the next best thing. ~ Mark Deming, All Music Guide