What to say about Phonograph? Well, they’re from Brooklyn. There are five of them, and they play pretty straight-forward alt.country. Wilco likes them, which makes a lot of sense. And so do the Mekons, and PopMatters too, apparently. We called the band’s self-titled LP, “One of the most consistent and stellar debuts in recent memory.” But unfortunately, their follow up doesn’t deliver on that early promise. The five-song Hiawatha Talking Machine EP is consistent, sure. The songs are all solidly written and executed. But they’re also pretty… well… boring. The guitars, basses and pianos just plod along, never really seeming to go anywhere. In the album’s final moments, they do come to life, building to a distorted crescendo at the end of “Plates on Sticks”, but by then it’s too late. Hiawatha Talking Machine is pretty decent, pretty solid, and pretty forgettable too.
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