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9/10 Penrith Steve Customer review, 18th September 2015
“Insignificance” may well be Jim O’Rourke’s best album. It opens with the magnificent “All Down Hill From Here” which has the crunchy guitars of “Monster”-era REM but O’Rourke’s vocal is much less intense than what Michael Stipe would have delivered. Then there’s the gentle musical flourishes that are somewhat of a signature for O’Rourke. The title track has something of the laid-back ‘70s singer/songwriter about it fused with Stereolab-style lounge muzak and late ‘60s Beatles guitar string bends. “Therefore I am” is punchy and uptempo with a Bill Callahan-ish vocal melody. “Memory Lane” sounds a bit like Field Music, it has all the same corners and angles whilst having a beautifully soft verse and chorus, one of the album’s best tracks. “Good Times” finds him in acoustic troubadour mode the guitar being gently plucked to match his soft, low voice, seasoned with a bit of pedal steel here and there. The piece de resistance, however, is closer “Life Goes Off” a musically perky song with lyrics that may be about a previous partner’s sexual preferences and what they made him wear, “If I was to die with these things on, you couldn’t say I couldn’t try”. Brilliant. In typical Jim O’Rourke style, the album ends with what sounds like several washing machines spin cycles, the noise of which is in contrast to what is otherwise an album that is rather easy on the ears. It also features guest performances from Jeff Tweedy and Glenn Kotche of Wilco, with whom he would later form Loose Fur.
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- Insignificance by Jim O'Rourke
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