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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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Orson_Welles : Planet Devouring Robot
Rotary Dial Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Lots of times a CD's artwork will be a big clue as to what kind of band you are dealing with. Perhaps it is just a hindsight bias, but albums like OK Computer and Daydream Nation seem liked they evoked their sounds just sitting on the shelf in the store. Well, this is not true in the case of the band Whitford. If I could have guessed from the cover and layout out of this CD, I would have said another Phish knockoff rises from the ashes. Or maybe I would have grouped them as a second-rate techno band with ambient leanings. Both would be wrong. At any rate, I don't think the cover is a good representation of the music you will find inside. Not quite jazz, not quite rock, they build a unique sound that does not feel awkward or forced. Whitford probably did not set out to sound really different. They just do.

The first song is great. It doesn't seem to try too hard. It just lets you in. The guitarist, Jesse Kates, has a great style. He goes from picking to chords and back a lot, but it is more seamless than other current guitarists. He just rolls along. The saxophonist, Andrew Cuneo is subtle throughout the song and throughout the album. He brings his horn in at all the right moments, never overbearing the music or turning this into one of those bands that are four soloists working together. This is definitely a band that works to bring music and not show off and the first song is a great example. It is the perfect introduction to this band.

"Strangers Have the Best Candy" might be the best song on the CD. Just an absolutely great song. The guitars are great and there is just enough horn coming in and out. It starts off as a kind of pretty, happy, very tuneful song. Then a couple of minutes in it lets loose on a discordant rampage that works beautifully. It slowly works back into the original melody of the song, only this time there is a more menacing rhythm section. "Marilyn Hanson", despite the title, is another great song that just sounds better and better with each listen. I think the sax in this song really stands out to me. I think this would be a great song without the sax, but it brings an extra kick that really makes this more than just a regular instrumental rock band. "(T)andem" has especially strong picking, showing off Kates' ability to stay with a melody and still seem to be freely exploring the neck of his guitar. In "Springsteen" the inclusion of a wah peddle towards the end of the song fits great, something I would not have expected from this band. I would be remiss to not mention the rhythm section of the band that is strong throughout. The bass and drums fit perfectly within each staying within and changing the tempos.

After fourteen songs, I was very happy with this CD. They surely have a sound that they do not stray too far from on this album, but it works very well. The last three songs are jazzy and free, possibly a little too similar, but otherwise I have not complaints. A band that seems very precise and very loose at the same time, Whitford's Orson_Welles is a great album to try to find and give an honest listen to.

Reviewed by John Steinbacher
The last we heard, Steinbacher was living in Minneapolis.

See other reviews by John Steinbacher



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