A truthful accounting of the latest Nikki Sudden record seems pointless, especially after his untimely death last summer. Pointless and tinged with regret. After years of lovely sad strumming, his most recent work (including 2004's Treasure Island
) shows Sudden recharged. The handclapping and boot-stomping of "Don't Break My Soul" and "Empire Blues" not only sound swell, they feel like Sudden was ready for one last attack. Expertly assimilating funky guitar riffs ("Dragging Me Down") and Phil Spector drama ("The Ballad of Johnny and Marianne"), Sudden was a lifer and a natural. Alas, "tinged with regret" was the central mood of much of Nikki Sudden's never-ending requiems to lost love. And if he never quite shook that Keith Richards-Johnny Thunders junkie myth, on The Truth
and in his career, Nikki Sudden used his brokenhearted voice to puncture it.