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 » 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
Jeffrey Luck Lucas
What We Whisper
Antebellum Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


August 14, 2006
The honeymoon ends quickly for the groom in "Know My Name," a country-noir tale of a shotgun wedding gone wrong off Jeffrey Luck Lucas' sophomore solo outing, What We Whisper. Besides remembering how "21 shot glasses fell," his memory of what transpired the night of the blessed event is a bit foggy, though he does recall seeing his bride "always looking over [her] shoulder." That should have been his first clue that the marriage was on the rocks.

Poisoned, for reasons left unknown, the husband, played by Lucas, relates that he "was dreaming in an ambulance/on the night we were wed," as bottomless baritone six-string recrimination and starry-eyed acoustic strum meet with stumbling drums to go over the police report - incomplete as it is. That's how it is with Lucas' stories. He reveals only what's necessary to tell them and hides the rest, always respecting the intelligence of the audience and giving them evocative imagery as a reward. If situations are unresolved or questions are left unanswered, Lucas isn't about to go back and settle things, as tempting as it may be. A not-so-poor man's Nick Cave, Lucas studies human frailty like a CSI veteran, taking DNA samples of death wishes, treachery, self-flagellation, obsession, love and unfulfilled desire, and matching them to all of human existence. "Angels, Take Me" is the album's lilting, meditative closer, and in it, Lucas pours out his heart, singing "I went to hell for you/Lived in the west for you/Burned-out my head for you" in deep, grave tones and his martyrdom sounds convincing. If the cross fits, wear it.

And Lucas does, but not to gain sympathy or pity, just understanding. Pounding the nails in himself, he does it to express deep sorrow, confusion and regret - feelings and emotions that Lucas sews into the black fabric of his elegant compositions with thick melodic thread. A drifting, desert montage of captivating, slow-motion lounge music with menacing undertones, What We Whisper has the troubling allure of a femme fatale and a dark, easy instrumental current that flows from tributaries like the Willard Grant Conspiracy, Friends Of Dean Martinez and American Music Club. Holding a master's degree in cello, Lucas, who also founded the mid-80s garage band The Morlocks, has a studious side that comes out in the often stately, measured arrangements of What We Whisper, but Lucas the academic doesn't get in the way of Lucas the craftsman.

Good with tools like ghostly pedal steel (courtesy of David Phillips), fragile piano and dying keyboard embers, curtains of strings, simple acoustic and electric guitar touches, and subtle touches of accordion and vibes, Lucas designs expansive, beautiful atmospheres for the stylishly cinematic What We Whisper. Wandering in from the lush, haunting opener "You Knew It Well," Lucas takes a moonlight stroll with "Fall In Love Wrong" and under the twilight skies of "In The Stars Whirling," Lucas, his resonant voice a smoldering campfire, dredges up bad memories of infidelity, talks of forgiveness and confronts his own, and his lover's, mortality with the line, "And let the sparks dance upon our lips/For soon they will dance no more."

Sparks do fly from What We Whisper, but Lucas isn't interested in putting on a fireworks display. For the one-time punk bassist, it's all about seamless, smooth transitions from Southwestern soundscapes like the instrumental "Grifos Muertos" to the lonesome last-calls of "The Pills" and "Just Like Moths," a light cocktail jazz workout that forges a bond between Alejandro Escovedo and Calexico. Though the scenery of What We Whisper all starts to look the same after a while and the album's lugubrious movement gets to be burdensome, Lucas' almost hushed conversational singing style and world-weary expression add so much nuance to his stories that the impulse to buy him a drink at whatever after-hours bar he's at becomes a compulsion. Leave the bottle, bartender. We're going to be here for a while.

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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