This disc is a real grower recommended if you enjoyed the dynamics and harmony of Fog’s excellent Dither record. Disregard the title and any over-reaching promo claims of experimentation: here are two musicians who can harmonize, play a range of instruments and write good songs. Holy Shit it’s a miracle! Hang on, though, since when was that enough? Part of the reason for adding digital doodles to the more traditional instruments, methinks. Crucially, they make the computer do their bidding; the blips and glitch are neither overdone nor gratuitous. All the songs have structure, and I suspect the duo (Mann & Stapleton) is melodic when they belch. Hopefully they are performing these songs out in concert, in Nashville.
Opening track “Jubilee” is nearly a mutation of Young’s “Powderfinger” and Dream Academy’s “Life in a Northern Town”. “San Joaquin” could slot into a Calexico set and in “Magazine Queen” they have written a good song set in New Orleans—far more difficult that penning a clichéd one. “Concealed” is absolutely terrific, with a skittish melodic appeal, a haunting piano figure and fizzing percussion. “Guitars Need a Sinner’s Touch” is goose bump inducing and bouncy, albeit in a gentle, sad and lilting fashion. Final track “Signs of Passing Time” has an unfussy spaced out quality akin to a down-tempo Flaming Lips or Todd Rundgren. Just don’t try listening while playing Computer vs. Banjo Pong at the label website!
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// Sound Affects
"History repeats the old conceits, the glib replies, the same defeats. Keep your finger on important issues, and keep listening to the 275th most acclaimed album of all time. A 1982 masterpiece is this week's Counterbalance.READ the article