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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
Onelinedrawing
The Volunteers
Jade Tree Records

Rating: 4/10 ?


October 1, 2004
The newest Onelinedrawing album, The Volunteers, shows Jonah Matranga's newest endeavors colliding with his earliest work, with the comfort of an assured bullhorn. It is still a laptop recording, but touted by a label that can truly fortify it. While I secretly love the telephone that won't stop ringing during "Crush on Everyone", and wasn't edited out, Jonah in fullest, clearest force is really worth capturing.

"We Had a Deal" begins like an acoustic Dashboard Confessional knockoff, but moves quickly to clamoring, punk-inflicted guitars and gritted teeth, which is as far from his bashfully whispered cover of "Savory" as I can imagine. Steering more toward his work with New End Original, it is solid rock that isn't afraid to be loud or angry. The "sensitive guy" has given up on the act because it didn't get the chicks, or so it seems until the rest of the tracks unfold.

"Superhero" refutes the philosophy of "Deal" immediately, in a quiet return to nerdy glasses-ready emo and plucked guitar/heartstrings. Gone, however, are the momentum and catchy aptitude of his lush wanderings; the track stands completely and unnecessarily still. The progression from one extreme to the next, while not in the same order on the album, serves as a somewhat jarring reminder that despite the recent volume, Jonah is still a soft fellow with an approach and an agenda.

"Over It" remains quiet, though a bit catchier than "Superhero"; and with choppy, retro electronics that move it drudgingly along until it bursts into an explosive chorus. As was sneakily suspected, this is the Sketchy EP on a bigger budget. As such, this cut feels the truest to Jonah's character and style, but also emphasizes how little he has capitalized on his progress over the years. It feels as though he could do a lot more with what he was given, though the song is expectedly likeable.

Lastly, "A Ghost" is lamenting electro-folk, the most pained and expressive of the four tracks. It is a warbling waltz with a thin drum machine in the background, affected and spare. The vocals are lofty and unhurried at first, but move to dry, emotional shouting by the end, caving in to once-denied discontent. It is satisfying that he has returned to form, but also frustrating: For every reviewer who utters the phrase "achingly honest", they are correct, and yet it feels predictable.

With The Volunteers, we have a pencil sketch that wasn't inked (pardon the pun), a batch of torn scraps left curled atop a desk. It is definitely sincere and characteristic, but the thought is lost before being fully fleshed out.

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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