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Oren Lavie

The Opposite Side of the Sea

(Tuition; US: 6 Mar 2007; UK: 26 Feb 2007)

Melodic and melancholic almost to a fault, Oren Lavie resembles Royal Wood or Leonard Cohen with his barren delivery on gorgeous little nuggets like “Her Morning Elegance”. Meanwhile the lovely and tender, piano-tinged “The Man Who Isn’t There” shines through with a grace and style that is simply stellar. While some might consider the style as an “Eleanor Rigby”-meets-XTC vibe with the tense strings on the title track, it seems to work throughout. By this time you also realize he’s not about to change what has gotten him this far, resulting in the subsequent songs losing just a bit (but not much) of their luster as is the case with “Locked in a Room”. Thoughts of the Moody Blues also are apparent with the jazzy, lounge-y “Ruby Rises”. The album turns a hair when the strings are placed on the back burner during the light “Trouble Don’t Rhyme”. The only real clunker is the dreamy “Blue Smile” which almost could put one to sleep.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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