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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
Memphis
I Dreamed We Fell Apart
Paper Bag Records

Rating: 7/10 ?


October 1, 2004
So, I'm home sick from work with an awful sinus infection and a doctor's appointment later in the day. I'm eating saltwater taffy for breakfast because I deserve a little more joy than this - rather than complain, I'll just eat candy.

There's a point in the bag, inevitably, when you reach an anise-flavored bit. Or horehound. Or mothball. If you're like me, you've been digging around for as many caramel apple-flavored pieces as you can find, and wholly enjoying your entire taffy experience, but then you land on Chance. Here's where I'm probably different from most - I'll go ahead and eat the black/brown/gray piece out of sheer respect for the person who decided we were sorely lacking of candy that tastes like cough drops. Plus, it's like the evil piece, and cosmically, you know you've got to have balance.

Memphis begins I Dreamed We Fell Apart with lovely, Neapolitan sweetness. There's no need to dig in the bag on the first piece; odds are, it's sweet. With just a hint of chocolaty darkness, "The Second Summer" features lovely Spanish guitars, breezy tendencies like Belle and Sebastian or Badly Drawn Boy, and a brief richness that melts into air.

The pattern continues with "For Anyone Eighteen" - which is filled with acoustic reveling, clicking electrics, light flutes and a wonderfully lazy pace - as well as "Into the Wild", whose Motown inspiration and whistle solo let us know what Tahiti 80 would sound like if they did it right every time. At this point, you begin to count on a constant saccharine taste. So far, we can account for a love of Nick Drake, a respectable depth and an unhurried pleasantness in the album, and there's no reason to believe things will unexpectedly shift -

Until anisette sneaks up on you.

I Dreamed We Fell Apart turns grave and stormy at its center; it has a whole cluster of evil pieces to balance out the universe. Beginning with the hyper-consciously isolated "3:15 on the Last Day of School," it tumbles into the sputtering groove of "Hey Mister, Are You Awake?" and the spooky, howling layers of "East Van." In those eerie moments, the static of a television set buzzes beneath the steadfast tension of a ticking typewriter and clinking layers of stale noise. The repetitive din of a TV anchor loops once more on "Lullaby for a Girl Friend" and paints a decidedly different picture than what we may have anticipated from that initial sweetness. While blank, recorded eyes stare over a surprising murder scene, the hushed, vulnerable vocals that once purveyed sweetness have turned steely and guarded. Fear soaks the air; you reflexively yet counter-intuitively shield yourself from harm while in the safest neighborhood in town.

Threats of tension and appeal intermingle at many points, blurring the lines of safety and ease. Memphis's cover of the Pet Shop Boys "Love Comes Quickly" finds inspired placement before the album's darkest track - its samba-styled guitars and swollen layers are soon enveloped by rolling clouds. "Nada" uses a sudden saxophone solo to underlie its rainy, streetside feel and give a little dating and substance to its sugariness.

And above all, that's what it comes down to for Memphis: substance. Sure, they have the talent and capability to make everything sweet, but they have the sense to know that's not enough. In many ways, the dark pieces add biting humor and much needed reality to the bag - while still candy, they prove it doesn't have to be sweet.

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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