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Jeremy Udden's Plainville

If the Past Seems So Bright

(Sunnyside; US: 31 May 2011; UK: 31 May 2011)

The name says it all: you can go home again. Jeremy Udden’s new Plainville album is wrapped in nostalgia, specifically for the town of Plainville, Massachusetts where the reed player grew up. And as is the case with a lot of nostalgia-driven art, it has a you-had-to-be-there ring to it. Musically, the Plainville band is like a marriage between jazz and Americana with an indie judge presiding. The blend feels very natural for everyone involved. But rather than take the opportunity to guide this idea to new levels, Udden seems happy just to make If the Past Seems So Bright an exercise in forms. “Bethel” and “Hammer” are no more songs with melodies than they are symphonies. There’s no law against reminiscing, though, and making a hybrid like this sound so natural surely takes talent.

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