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LITERATURE

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

MUSIC

 » 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]

MUSIC

 » 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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Laakso
I Miss You, I'm Pregnant
Adrian Recordings

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


October 1, 2004
The cover of Laakso's I Miss You, I'm Pregnant is perplexing. On it, an old man, crouched (and cropped to appear that he has enormous feet), appeals passionately, about a matter of great importance, to younger man who appears not to care - looking past him rather than at him. All the while, crayon-red teardrops rain from Swedish skies, and we know from intuition that the ground is cold and the skies are gray. If you match that scene up with the title, you might hear a phone call with a similar, wrought sadness - a desperate plea met with nonchalance.

That weighted scene says considerably more about Laakso than their locale. Of course we'd like to announce FROM SWEDEN! at every turn, since it has a much more impressive ring than FROM DUBUQUE! to our humdrum little ears, but this is an album of so much more to offer than simple geographic novelty.

I Miss You, I'm Pregnant burrows in with the same glorious, heart-wrenching din we hold so closely with bands like Bright Eyes and Neutral Milk Hotel - heck, there's even a song here named "Nick Drake," and with good cause. It's a work of folksy, bare depression mingled with gushing, bombastic melodrama, and all the while quirky and hopeful enough to endear.

And, like its cover, I may not know what, exactly, is being said, but I get the picture. "Russkaja Ballad o Detsva" and "Demon" ring as truly as Fevers and Mirrors did before it, full of grand, Smithsy passion and emotional common ground. The former's awesome volume, and picked-up, militant drums assure us all that this isn't just some run-of-the-mill pity party, it's an explosion of feelings once locked up.

"Baby Close," with its deliciously Beach Boys-styled title, does cling appropriately to Pet Sounds with its harmonies and relatable nature. Just because - as the album's name doubly suggests - the songs are pregnant with meaning, doesn't mean little rays of sunshine can't peak through. Laakso knows enough to be graceful - an album of pure sadness could turn an audience off, and they traipse the line quite finely with airborne twirls and half-steps.

This impressive, dancing nature shines through most apparently with "Sensation at Fire," which begins as a beautifully dense, dark piece, but warms up to a jaunty pace and a settled optimism. We get the feeling that the depression that was once so overwhelming and inescapable has lifted, and things are faring fairly well. Like Magnum, Oberst and Drake, the light at the end of the darkness is surprisingly attainable, and here, with Laakso, there is no end in sight.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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