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An office favourite which has not been off our stereo especially on all these sunny days. Then when I get home I just crank up the boombox and play it again- its the gift that keeps on giving. Lovely summery Real Estate/Elliott Smith hybrid bedroom pop. What Jim says x 1000. Essential listening.
A sweet, country-tinged album by singer-songwriter, Stephen Steinbrink here. Opener, ‘Now You See Everything’ starts with a Byrds-esque chiming two chord arpeggio before the adeptly arranged band kicks in, strings n’all and then Stephen’s softly sung, high vocals (like a sweeter toned Elliott Smith) add the icing on the cake. There is enough distilled West Coast sunshine in these tracks to brighten up your summer, no matter how shit the weather actually is.
The lyrics seem to mix everyday observations with abstraction, giving many of the songs a certain philosophical depth that kinda reminds me of Cass McCombs. There’s a fair amount of experimentation here too that goes well beyond the usual confines of singer-songwriter conventions, like the field-recordings collage of ‘Tangerine’ and the 1980s AOR played on a ghetto-blaster sound of ‘It’s Pretty What You Did For Me’. Interesting as those experiments are, for me the album’s high points are when the songwriting is allowed to shine through, augmented with some great arrangements and the occasional psychedelic flourish. It’s a surprisingly assured record and will hit the spot if you like dreamy americana laced with a touch of melancholy.
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