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


 » 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]


 » 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
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
Breaking Laces
Meeka Salise Music

Rating: 6/10 ?

March 23, 2006
A pop tunesmith like Breaking Laces' Willem (as in Dafoe?) Hartong comes around about as often as the city bus. Wait a few minutes and another one will be along shortly with a homogenous batch of unabashedly melodic, yet ultimately disposable, songs that haven't got the hooks or the song craft to hold your attention any longer than the time it takes to study the tawny, long-legged blonde who's way out of your league striding past on the sidewalk. Hold onto your ticket for Lemonade. You may want a transfer.

Cross the Barenaked Ladies with Semisonic, and throw in some indie-pop from Boston's early-1990s heyday for good measure, and you've got Brooklyn's Breaking Laces, a likeable trio with radio-friendly melodies but little substance. Lemonade is the successor to 2004's Sohcahtoa, and it's not without its bittersweet charms. It's good iPod music that would make riding public transportation to and from work a little more bearable, especially for those of a melancholic disposition. The star-kissed acoustic guitar and flowing piano offer a lush backdrop for the angst-ridden vocals of Hartong, especially in the lovely "States Away." And ballads like "This World," with its weepy cello, and "I Do I Don't" are pretty, if overly sentimental and lacking in originality. Lines like "Your eyes are my new home," from the crackerjack pop nugget "Call You Home," don't help.

Lemonade runs hot and cold, with Breaking Laces occasionally nailing Bacharach's sweeping, sad-sack pop style on the head. There's warmth and heartfelt earnestness in "I Just Wanna Fight" and the lithe bounce of "(The) Ocean (That Lies Between Us)." Why they felt the need to put everything in parentheses, I don't know. The low points are "Garbanzo Beans" and "Get Up Today," sluggish rockers that try to rev things up like the Presidents Of The United States but fall disappointingly flat instead, especially in the choruses.

Breaking Laces haven't learned from kid's cereal companies. Dumping more sugar into the pitcher would have sweetened Lemonade's taste and taken out some of the tartness. Being a little more reserved - and tighter - with the arrangements would help too. It's not that they're overblown or full of needless strings. When Breaking Laces adds in cello, it comes alone and adds depth, not pomposity. It's just that Breaking Laces goes for that emotional jugular too hard, giving those heartbreaking piano chords too much emphasis. Hartong, most of the time, writes smart lyrics about interpersonal relationships and his words hit home, especially in "I Just Wanna Fight," an insightful song about domestic violence. It's the honey-dripping instrumentation that gets in the way of the genuine feeling Hartong wants to convey.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad



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