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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
The Magnetic Fields
Realism
Nonesuch

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


February 22, 2010
With Steven Merritt you never really know what you are going to get. Realism is a significant departure from the bands previous outing, Distortion, which was quite a departure from its predecessor, i. And although the group continues to change sounds, Merritt's enthralling voice and songwriting dexterity continue to shine.

Realism begins with "You Must Be Out of Your Mind," a lovely, sweeping ballad with a memorable chorus that makes it by far the catchiest song early in the album. It also appears that Merritt has cut down his alcohol intake, as he bellows (presumably to an old lover) "I no longer drink enough to think you're witty," a noticeable flip from "Too Drunk to Dream" from 2008's chuggier Distortion and a strong opening for another versatile jokefest from the collective.

Inspired by 60s and 70s British folk, a few tracks on Realism will definitely surprise devoted followers of the group's familiar synth outings (if that's even possible after the epochal 69 Love Songs). But the retro concept lets "We Are Having a Hootenanny", "The Dolls' Tea Party", and "Painted Flower" carry light tunes that tread the novelty line even more than is Merritt's general practice.

"The Dada Polka" harnesses elements of the Mamas and The Papas to provide the most entertaining song on the album, also the only song on the disc with an electric guitar, and even more impressively lingering in Merritt's personal collection since 1986. Yet even more meaningful is the authenticity and passion Merritt displays when he orders the people of Earth and Mars to, "Do something, anything, do something true."

Reviewed by Brian Christopher Jones
A student living in Scotland and working toward a PhD in law.

See other reviews by Brian Christopher Jones

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