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Hidden Pictures

Synchronized Sleeping

(Self-released; US: 31 May 2011)

Synchronized Sleeping is a package of 12 perfectly safe pop songs from Lawrence, Kansas’s Hidden Pictures. The band’s core duo of Richard Gintowt and Michele Sanders offer twee and alt-country in equal measure—just not enough personality. Gintowt, who handles lead vocals, hits on many of life’s simple pleasures—checking out a girl who works at the library, cursing at a baseball game—but the songs bleed into one another, with few ever getting the chance to shine on their own. “Genevieve” recalls Fountains of Wayne’s power-pop and is the sound of the band letting loose, and not surprisingly is one of the album’s strongest tracks. Album closer “Alexander Bell” charms with a steady dose of vocals from Sanders and a driving acoustic guitar. But these peaks can’t save the album from its excess of cringe-worthy lyrics: “Life’s too short to be a frowner / So don’t be an ol’ Debbie Downer”; “I thought I was in control / All my ducks in a row / But they got out of line.” Or as Gintowt muses on “Red Alerts”, “Some days are green / Some are yellow / But all I’m seeing is red.” That sums it up.

Rating:

Freeden is a graduate student in sociology. He lives in Oakland, CA. A former sixth grade teacher in Philadelphia, he once took some of his students to a Dizzee Rascal concert. They met the rapper after the show and found his accent perplexing.


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