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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
Paula Kelley
The Trouble with Success (or How You Fit Into the World)
Kimchee Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
From the baroque intro, "My Finest Hour (Enter)" to its respective "(Exit)", Paula Kelley establishes herself as a force of chamber pop whose quarters are vast and praiseworthy. Having done time shoegazing (Drop Nineteens), playing pop (Hot Rod, Boy Wonder), and making a name for herself with a previous solo album, The Trouble with Success is both a branching out from and an incorporation of her past endeavors.

It takes an orchestra of thirty-eight talented musicians (including dusty pop favorite Eric Matthews) to flesh out Kelley's lavish dream. While "I'd Fall In Love with Anyone" is the only track to boast the full Paula Kelly Orchestra, each track is as finished and tunefully realized as one might hope.

On the first complete track, "A New Time", she doffs her stylish cap to Tahiti 80, of whom she's a self-professed fan. The breezy, whimsical, faux-French pop stylings establish a wistful tone to the album, making fast and friendly acquaintances with her audience.

"Could There Be Another World" wears her love of Burt Bacharach, Love, and girl groups on her sleeve, slowly plodding through superbly dated vocals and lofty strings. "How Many Times" capitalizes on the dreamier side of the same format, piecing together a tearful ballad with sweet understatement.

In the least of her efforts, her voice can sound too forced or overly strained: When she attempts to rock ("My Finest Hour"), it borders a bit on cheesy and draining. But, through every track or vocal pratfall, there is never a moment when she loses her charm. The support of such a formidable backing band only adds to the warmth and richness, creating something that should satisfy Moms, twee fans and indie softies alike.

At her best (the previously-mentioned "I'd Fall in Love with Anyone"), she is a sweet crooner whose sights are set within her reach, and whose creation is ripe and beautiful. Indeed, there are many devoted music aficionados who have been waiting for an album like this to balance out the harsher tones of math-rock and punk-pop with something lovely. Those hopeless romantics should feel a stirring inside, and Paula Kelley has hit her inevitable target.

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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