Amateur Proselytizing

Crooner searches for God, though a bit repetitively

"Some call me Allah, some call me Dao, some call me Buddha, some call me now," Mason Jennings bellows on "Some Say I'm Not," before letting out a chant worthy of Ram Dass (whose new-age mantra "Be here now" is co-opted for the album opener). It's an audacious one-two punch for a white-bread singer- songwriter pigeonholed as the Midwestern Jack Johnson. But most songs on Boneclouds—the first release on Isaac Brock's new Glacial Pace label—find Jennings on a pilgrimage to a plane more enlightening than the crest of a wave. The rest are grounded by tried-and-true, crystalline vocals and unadulterated production. Why alienate frat boys who pay premium for merchandise? On "If You Ain't Got Love," Jennings meditates on the Father's touch-and-go handling of his newborn; on "Jesus Are You Real," he meditates on the Son's touch-and-go handling of us all. Though blissful in his pursuit of a Holy Ghost, hackneyed refrains make some songs as tiresome as a Hare Krishna with a sales pitch.


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Mason Jennings
Boneclouds
Glacial Pace/Sony

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Mason Jennings plays Webster Hall with Teddy ThompsonThursday, doors at 6:30, $20, websterhall.com.

 
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