Suzanne Ely
February 21, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Alt-country pop’s answer to Dave Eggers occasionally gets too highfalutin with his Catcher in the Rye and Isaac Newton references. It’s as if the cool satirist and the schooled artiste inside singer-songwriter Eef Barzelay are constantly battling each other for dominance. But on Clem Snide’s fifth album, humor wins out. ”Jews for Jesus Blues” wryly comments on spiritual confusion, while ”Made for TV Movie” portrays Lucille Ball as a sad clown. Strange as that sounds, you’ll find yourself laughing through the tears.

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