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Park Avenue Music

By Hearts + Horses

(Clairecords; US: 13 May 2008; UK: Available as import)

Noise or ambient rock can be a hit or miss affair. If it’s too arty then it just becomes pretentious to the listener who will often chuck it. But then again if it’s not too highbrow what’s the point. Park Avenue Music have found the proper balance on this album, starting with the gorgeous “Norway Kitty” which could have been placed on the soundtrack to either Babel or Lost In Translation and been a highlight on each. The thoughtful nature to most of the material is what draws you in, even if the “Palaces + Prisons” which has spoken word over it like some ambient homage to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of the Moon. Somber describes much of the album’s tone, with “Tufts” having a bit more dramatic flair or weight in the style of Portishead on a real downer. Although the sons occasionally go off on a tangent where they really shouldn’t like during the almost aquatic “Piet”, Park Avenue Music, led by Wes Steed and Jeannette “Juju” Faith, shine on the tranquil “Before”. And the record closes as sweetly as it began with “Japan Luvr”.

Rating:

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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