Back in 1995 The New York Times described R.E.M.'s album Monster as a "Big, dumb, rock record. Except it's not dumb at all". It's a description that could equally be used for Chuck Prophet's 12th solo outing Temple Beautiful. Both albums share a loud brash veneer of guitar riffs and throw away lyrics that hide a surprisingly considered and detailed set of character studies. Prophet's record is at times compelling, funny and heartfelt. That's a recipe that many artists fail to balance properly, but as Chuck is writing about his beloved San Francisco here, it's no surprise that he nails it without missing a step.

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