Tim Fite Gone Ain’t Gone

[Anti-; 2005]

Rating: 2.5/5

Styles: Sample-based indie, not-quite hip-hop, ’90s alternative
Others: Beck, Tom Waits, Resplendent

Remember Odelay? That was one cool record. Catchy songs, tight samples, and one unimpeachably cool maestro. Brooklyn-based newcomer Tim Fite remembers that record too, and his modes of song construction and choices of sounds are so similar to the mid-period work of Mr. Hansen that one might swear, upon listening to Gone Ain't Gone, that it's 1996 all over again. Fite claims to draw the samples which fuel his songs from a "graveyard" of forgotten bargain-bin discs, none of which may cost more than $1. Given that it sounds as though Fite's using fairly enormous chunks of these songs for his own purposes, I've got to figure that his source material is so obscure that no one gives enough of a fuck to sue. It sounds like he's mostly culling bits from guitar-based alternative bands from, well, right around Odelay's release; no surprise, then, that Gone Ain't Gone sounds like such a period piece.

Surprises do pop up on Fite's debut, however. "I Hope Yer There" does sound a hell of a lot like a less-clever Beck, but "45 Remedies" sees Fite veering towards hip-hop; think a back-alley G. Love, perhaps. More '90s nostalgia hits as Fite talks his way through "If I Had a Cop Show." "Wait a minute," you think, "was this guy in King Missile?" Fite's voice rarely helps, either -- he's got one of those I'm-too-cool slacker voices, with a syrupy Southern accent laid on top.

Somehow, though, Gone Ain't Gone ends remarkably strongly. "Flowers Bloom" is the most interesting noise collage on the disc, and a chorus of Fites, singing in an Appalachian warble, makes "Time Comes Around" work as well. Finally, "Away from the Snakes" and "The More You Do" are the best material on the disc, slower songs that are more heart, less cool when compared to the rest of the album. This final third of the 17-song album is more Baptist Generals than Beck and is necessarily more engaging. The bulk of Gone Ain't Gone is something of a snooze, but these last few songs perhaps save it from the bargain bins that facilitated its birth.

1. I Hope You're There
2. Toasted Rye
3. No Good Here
4. Eating at the Grocery Store with William
5. 45 Remedies
6. I've Kept Singing (feat. Paul Robeson)
7. Not A Hit Song
8. Innocent Man
9. Shook
10. If I Had A Copshow
11. The Flowers Bloom
12. All I Need
13. Disgrace
14. Mascara Lies
15. Time Comes Around
16. Away From The Snakes
17. The More You Do

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