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Chase Pagan

Oh, Musica!

(The Militia Group; US: 31 Jul 2007; UK: Unavailable)

Like a whirling ball of energy, Oh, Musica! , the debut LP from singer/songwriter Chase Pagan, has a sense of perpetual motion.  Over thirty-four minutes which pass in what seems an instant, Pagan’s work is continuously chaotic, kinetic, and often volatile, no matter whether in the midst of a dramatic crescendo or a quiet fade.  Vocally, Pagan resembles Michael Shepard of labelmate Lovedrug; adding such impassioned expressions to instrumental backdrops which mix vigorous piano passages (which are at times dark and ominous, at others reminiscent of Coldplay’s most intense work) with elements of rock, jazz and even the occasional taste of musical theatre makes for quite the compelling listen.  There are moments on the record where Pagan’s verve unchecked morphs into histrionics; however when his passion is guided by focus (“Waltzing in the Sky”, “Spanish Tongue”), the results are dynamic.  “Prince to the Queen,” arguably the album’s best track is built upon a piano figure which allows the song to slither and slide into being before pounding away to clear just enough space for a soaring melody.  Worth mentioning is the album’s most uncharacteristic (though another of its strongest) track “Paperboat”; the gentle, country-tinged folk song simply proves further Pagan’s ability to flourish in a variety of musical settings.

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