Tuesday, July 15, 2008
For their latest album, Saddle Creek’s radar jammers waft through a tour of American songwriting techniques, lingering mostly on the West Coast.
Son Ambulance’s Joseph Knapp, aided by Jeffrey Koster on Someone Else’s Déjà Vu (Saddle Creek), aims for a lonely, ’70s vibe and generally hits his mark — no such thing as an unhealthy Beach Boys fetish. Knapp accidentally rams his VW bus into The Shins (“Awakening”) and almost can’t get over the hill provided by the album’s first three, laborious cuts. This songs-to-brush-your-hair-to tournament has its moments in the sun, however, courtesy two flashes of transcendant beauty. The first is “Yesterday Morning,” which feels plucked from the last-nerve sessions that produced Big Star’s Third. The second, “Juliet’s Son,” marries the tension of smoking a cigarette outside the emergency room doors with the relief and sadness Roger McGuinn must have felt when Gene Clark left The Byrds.
Jennifer O’Connor and Fair Herald open.
— Steve Forstneger
Click here to download “Juliet’s Son.”