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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
Clare & the Reasons
The Movie
Frog Stand

Rating: 9/10 ?


September 10, 2007
Whether or not Clare Muldaur's intentions are to become a modern-day femme fatale remains uncertain. She could certainly do so, as her voice is soft and seductive, drawing listeners into her confidence, and the accompanying music on The Movie is a soothing complement in its sleepy, alluring feel. The album, Clare & The Reasons' debut, indeed plays like a soundtrack to a sultry black and white film where men and women exchange longing glances at one another across smoky bars and then meet again in Central Park under the cover of snowfall to dance together. New York City features prominently throughout the album as we wander through the streets, apartments, thoughts, and hearts of the city and its lovelorn inhabitants.

A striking debut, The Movie features lovely melodic pop songs, which are focused on Muldaur's voice and the gentle sounds of stringed instruments. Muldaur, who studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music and is the daughter of noted folk singer Geoff Muldaur, has a charming voice, and is backed by the Reasons, a large collective featuring her husband, Olivier Manchon, Alan Hampton, Christopher Hoffman, Beth Meyers, Greg Ritchie, and Bob Hart. The Reasons offer lush arrangements of piano, harpsichord, strings, harp, guitar, horns and light percussion to balance Muldaur's vocals. There is the slightest feel of jazz to many of the arrangements, most noticeably on "Love Can Be A Crime," as one can easily imagine hearing some of these songs in a dark, cozy jazz bar somewhere in Greenwich Village.

There are some clever lyrics here, as on "Pluto," where Muldaur consoles the former planet after its demotion to the minor leagues of heavenly bodies in 2006: "Pluto/ I have some frightful news, dear/ in The New York Times/ they've just reported you've been overthrown/ from your sort of throne/ for good/ and all the planets will gather around and have a thing for you/ they'll wrap their orbits warmly around you/ and send you off with love."

Pure moments of beauty include "Cook For You," built around string arrangements that evoke reminiscences of old, forgotten romances, and "Sugar In My Hair," which features gorgeous horns meandering through a lover's quarrel. I can picture a small apartment in Brooklyn and two lovers struggling with their lives and love through these songs. It's something out of the past; something familiar and melancholy, and it works very well.

Sufjan Stevens, Gregoire Maret, and Van Dyke Parks make guest appearances on this lovely little album, undoubtedly one of the better debuts of 2007. While not all of the tracks reach the same heights as "Cook For You," the album creates a true mood throughout, evoking a city of love and mystery, a glimpse into an older yet familiar world.

Reviewed by Eric J. Morgan
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Eric J. Morgan is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Colorado. He has an orange cat named Nelson and longs for the day when men and women will again dress in three-piece suits and pretty dresses to indulge in three-martini lunches and afternoon affairs.

See other reviews by Eric J. Morgan

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