Smith's talent lays in his ability, like Tom Waits, to create a surreal landscape populated by crafty guitar and piano work and a haunting, layered voice that climbs cheek to cheek with his instruments to create something unheard of today.
The real standouts here, though, are the ballads. With "I Deserve It" and "Gone," the legacy of the corporeal and spiritual Madonna lays down amid the simplicity of basic percussive beats and acoustic guitar.
The band neither succeeds wildly nor fails. There are only a few reminders of the lackluster dance sounds in its recent work... Otherwise, what dominates are the straight-ahead rhythms that drove the early days.