Tuesday, September 20, 2005

All Around You Is Love

Yesterday's piece on Roxy Music's Avalon brought up the phrase "adult contemporary". Today I offer you some more artful easy listening music. Too Tall To Hide is the name of the sophomore LP by Minneapolis quartet Halloween, Alaska. Made up of veterans of our local music scene (including super drummer Dave King from The Bad Plus/Happy Apple), they self released their debut in 2003, and had several tracks chosen to be soundtrack music on The O.C. last year. This prompted a reissue of the debut early this year with a few extra tracks, and now we have it's follow up. Musically I would describe it as moody,tasteful electronica decorated with organic instrumentation and a dash of that laptop glitchiness. The songs are pop songs with a melancholic touch. For some reason they really remind me of one of my fave '80s bands, Prefab Sprout - something about the way the melody and the lyrics are arranged. They also remind me of The Postal Service, albeit a much less poppy version. There are also elements of the lush, quiet storm music that The Blue Nile are so adept at. Drowned is one of the more uptempo songs. It plaintively chugs along to a nice, steady beat until about 3/4s of the way through when it explodes into a pounding beast of feedback, giving the oft repeated lyric "all around you is love" added weight. The band is also to be commended for it's choice of cover tunes. They bring their unique, Minnesota-white-boy coolness to the LL Cool J hit I Can't Live Without My Radio. It seems like it shouldn't work, this slick suburban take, but I love how it comes across, with it's urban story given a dreamy, lush backdrop. It's fantastic, and the rest of the record is pretty nice too.

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