Beginning with The Great Puzzle in 1991, Jules Shear has put out a body of work that proves great pop music is still built on solid songwriting. On Allow Me, Shear continues his penetrating look into the heart and soul of lives big and small.
Stewart Lerman’s production serves the music well, as Shear’s limited vocals are shored up with rocking guitars, organs and touches of R&B shine. Two great opening rockers, “Hard Enough” and “The More That I’m Around You”, demonstrate that quality songs are equal parts words and music. This collection is vintage Shear, from the sad resignation ballad “Nothing Is New” to more edgy rock on the searing “Deep” and “I’m In Love With You”, which feature great R&B grooves and soulful backing vocals from Vicki Peterson (whose Bangles scored a smash with Shear’s “If She Knew What She Wants” 15 years ago) and Susan Cowsill.
The songs on Allow Me move to a big beat one moment and occupy quieter space the next. In the latter category are three of Shear’s best songs to date: “The Judge And Margaret Brady”, “Just Another Railroad Train” and “Too Soon Gone”.