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It can't be easy for Alec Bathgate. As the "other" Tall Dwarf he always seems to stand in the shadows of the more extroverted Chris Knox. It would be simple enough to dismiss Bathgate as the Jim Messina to Knox's Kenny Loggins (or, more charitably Bruce Foxton to Knox's Paul Weller). And yet, those judgements wouldn't be fair. Perhaps, an XTC analogy might better do the trick in this case-if Knox is the Tall Dwarfs' Andy Partridge, the more low-key Bathgate is certainly their Colin Moulding. As the Tall Dwarfs' primary guitarist, Bathgate has always made major contributions to Tall Dwarfs lps. And that's to say nothing of his songwriting talents-"Pictures on the Floor" from Louis Likes His Daily Dip, "Mr. Brocoili" from Weeville, and 3EPS' "Bee to Honey" are but three of the many jangling gems he's brought to the table. When Knox began his solo career in 1989, the Tall Dwarfs went on the back burner for a couple years, and it wasn't until 1996 that Bathgate followed suit with a solo album of his own. Gold Lame not-too-surprisingly sounds a lot like a Tall Dwarfs record, with shiny strummed tunes augmented with Casio keyboard, quirky looped beats, piano, xylophone, and the works. Firmly entrenched in the sounds of the '60s, Gold Lame draws inspiration from the usual suspects-the Beach Boys, the Kinks, and, of course, the Beatles (Bathgate's George Harrison to Knox's John Lennon?? Oh forget it....). ~ Michael Jourdan