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Music Reviews

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Castle Talk
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
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No Age - Everything in Between
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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
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Fat Possum
Blue Cotton Skin
Red Buttons Records

Rating: 6/10 ?

October 1, 2004
If a listener is given a stack of a dozen new albums at once, and listens to them all in turn, they first dispatch the terrible ones, then praise the great ones, and then try to hunt down the one or two that seem to dodge easy evaluation.

A lot of listeners will have a difficult time evaluating Petracovich's Blue Cotton Skin. Listeners who don't immediately love or hate the mellow folk-electronic sound will find it hard to pin down an album that rarely stays in one place for long. Instruments and sounds drift up and down without signing in or checking out - most noticeably the drums' spotty attendance record in "Driving Home."

Most of the transitions aren't so easy to identify. What is, at its heart, an album characterized by a gossamer-voiced singer-songwriter, it is shrouded under layers of mild electronics and indecisive sonic shifts. The details of each song slip away as easily as a dream moments after waking, and the next time the listener picks up the Blue Cotton Skin, they can only remember fragmented bits of what it sounds like.

Reviewers can hurl adjectives at this all they want, and it's tempting to do so. To borrow a few from previous reviews of this album, the music is smooth, relaxing, cerebral, fragile, airy, dreamy, detached and moody. These are all accurate, but they are also frequently writer code words for dull and unengaging.

I stop just short of making that accusation here, because Petracovich stays just out of critical reach.

It's hard to say if the evasiveness of the music makes it difficult to listen to or only difficult to write about. It can be said there is better female folktronica being made in 2004 (CocoRosie in particular). It can be said there is better music approaching this meeting point from the electronic end (Lali Puna). It can also be said that Petracovich is very talented, musically confident and appealing despite those things. But it can further be said that those statements are evasions in and of themselves, and this review is a copout. Hopefully it has at least been an informative one.

I will recommend this to those who enjoy the more hushed tones of Sia or Cat Power, but with a heavy warning that I would (almost) call this dull music.

Reviewed by Erick Bieritz
Erick Bieritz lives in Chicago, where is usually either very hot or very cold. He was the brainchild behind EPMD, where he wrote about EPs and singles for LAS, looking for overlooked or underappreciated non-album releases.

See other reviews by Erick Bieritz



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