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Schooner

Hold on Too Tight

(54 40 Or Fight; US: 7 Aug 2007; UK: Available as import)

Some albums seem to attract listeners from the get-go whereas others take quite a few times to warm up to even a handful of tracks.  Schooner tends to lean towards the former with the simple “Carrboro” that sounds like a catchy Velvet Underground B-side.  The tandem of Reid Johnson and Kathyrn Johnson pull off harmonies that would fare well compared to the likes of Luna.  Meanwhile, the doo-wop flavored “Pray for You to Die” is deadpanned rather solidly in terms of delivery.  Although there are a few pieces that are basically interludes, songs like the majestic “Tears in Your Ears”, the country-tinged “Leaving in Your Room”, and “Married” are finely and delicately crafted.  Yet another highlight has to be the poppy, spring-in-your-step feel oozing from “They Always Do”.  Schooner rarely straddles from what works, especially on the shuffling, melancholic “Hospital Floor” and the rather tender “Ladybug” which sounds a bit like The Arcade Fire.

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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