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 » 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.
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 » 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!
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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
Lullaby for the Passersby
Red Rockets Glare

Rating: 5.7/10 ?

August 30, 2007
Back in the day, when youngsters would suffer through braces and orthodontia, their parents spending thousands of dollars on various pieces of headgear, there was often no room for the expensive plastic little piece of shit that would grace the little mouths each night during the awkward phase. If only the orthodontists then had the tools at their disposal that they do today. Nowadays, according to the man himself, Frankel was "a giant retainer that filled your whole mouth-huge, kind of like what a boxer wears in the ring". Someone certainly gave this thing a personality.

Having gone solo with the instruments and songwriting of his debut full-length, Lullaby for the Passersby, Michael Orendy is the lone gun behind Frankel. While a coherent album is a feat for any artiste sans band, for all the bells and whistles and summery pop flourishes Orendy's stuck into this Frankel starter pack, the "classic" pop sound just seems to be lacking some original element. Rather than jingle-jangling like the sounds of pop music's heyday, Orendy's opus sounds a bit more like college rock dressed up to sound "classic," and never really breaks out of its pre-measured sound.

Lullaby for the Passersby isn't a total wash though, and one interesting tunes is the meandering "Found Out," a track in which Orendy's voice is a dead-ringer for Ryan Miller of Guster. The tune itself has a Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sound of experimental ambient noise, although Wilco fare better at sounding vintage. As for what Frankel is missing, in this track, for example, the crackly vocals never quite take root with the rest of the song, but the elements for an astonishing song are all there and as they are make up an interesting jumble.

Classic pop albums are known for being front-loaded with singles and back-loaded with filler, and in that regard Orendy does measure up with Lullaby for the Passersby, as the record seems to meander out of focus by the last few songs. At its best, it sounds like a more summery version of the New Pornographers without the deep pop sensibility. The electronic flourishes often feel tossed off.

Then, as if to say hey wait a minute, "Becoming You," Lullaby for the Passersby's closing track provides a fusion of power-pop and alt-country and manages to fulfill the promises of the rest of the album. Here Orendy's voice finally feels at home and, for the first and only time, the electronic and organic elements blend nicely together, crescendos and cadences accentuating the strong pop number with syrupy harmonies. Oh, what a joy!

Unfortunately for Michael Orendy, "Becoming You" is too little too late on an album that shows great potential for pop/Americana fusion but by and large fails to deliver it. Rather than gravitate toward a pedal-steel-tinged rootsy sound of his own, the album instead paints itself into the corner hinted at in its Wilco influences. There are some potentially stellar moments littered throughout Lullaby for the Passersby, but Orendy's tunes generally blend together to the point of losing definition, leaving a big mess in place of a great album.

Reviewed by Jeff McMahon
No biographical information is currently available.

See other reviews by Jeff McMahon



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