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Album review: Mark Eitzel, `Caught in a Trap and I Can't Back Out 'Cause I Love You Too Much, Baby...' (Matador OLE 179-2)

Mark Eitzel's reputation as the Leonard Cohen of his generation remains unthreatened on Caught in a Trap and I Can't Back Out 'Cause I Love You Too Much, Baby, a mostly solo, acoustic album. Yo La Tengo's James McNew and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley add bass and drums respectively to four tracks, and former Cramps guitarist Kid Congo Powers scrawls expressionist sheets of fractured guitar noise over three, but otherwise the absence of colluding musicians leaves Eitzel even more bereft than ever, adrift upon the whims of his misery.

"If I Had A Gun" is typical, Eitzel concluding the proposition "... I would give you your freedom", whilst Powers adds the guitar equivalent of fingernails scraping down a blackboard. "Xmas Lights Spin", too, is unlikely to supplant Slade in seasonal affections, as a boozy parent admits "St Nicholas left your toys behind at the bar". And the opening track "Are You The Trash" is downright cruel, Eitzel enquiring of an abandoned lover, "Are you the trash he left behind?". It's as naked and honest an album as ever (Eitzel knows no other way), and as tormented as the title suggests.