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OK Jones

Middletown (Centropolis)

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Richard Gintowt finds himself in an awkward position on Middletown, his sophomore effort under the name OK Jones. Gintowt is a local music journalist (Lawrence.com) and musician. And anytime a professional pundit decides to create the very thing he critiques, he's setting himself up for a smackdown. The only way out is to make an album so great that it's beyond derision. Middletown isn't that, but it's a surprisingly good listen. Critics drool over albums like this -- rootsy with authentic twang produced in an earthy, no-frills manner, with an allegorical title. Unfortunately, Middletown doesn't sound like Richard Gintowt. Whereas Gintowt's former band, Ghosty, offered a highly original voice and vision, Middletown merely sounds like Gintowt channeling his favorite alt-country records. It's top-shelf emulation, but if Gintowt ever intends to quit his day job, he'll need to write his own story.

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