• 1.
    Lady She
  • 2.
    More or Less
  • 3.
    Brittle Bones
  • 4.
    Dame of the Ruins
  • 5.
    Scenario
  • 6.
    Change of Heart
  • 7.
    Friend of a Friend
  • 8.
    Mourning Star
  • 9.
    Simple Suited
  • 10.
    Rise Above
  • 11.
    The Weatherman
  • 12.
    Brittle Bones [Remix]

Review

Joined by just a few friends, Amiel produced this array of folky California pop songs with a healthy dose of the Beatles and XTC in mind, not to mention a few whiffs of bossa nova and soundtrack atmospherics. The talk is of love, loss, and fairly well-gauged front porch metaphysics; the appropriately whimsical music is often peppered with both electronic and acoustic elements (vibraphone, accordion, etc.) to evoke this world of dreamy reality. Leadoff track "Lady She" sets the tone for what is at least half an album's worth of strong material: The song's deceptively lightweight frame never drags things into the wan doldrums, compliments of strong guy-gal harmonies, mobile synth and rhythm hooks, and perfectly timed slide guitar accents. The same goes for equally compact and jangly pieces like "Rise Above," the dulcimer-driven instrumental "Scenario," and noir-ambient "Brittle Bones." But the preciousness of it all goes awry on such anemically conceived offerings as "Friend of a Friend," "Simply Suited," and "The Weatherman" -- there's even a stab at some pop-reggae on "Morning Star," with predictably dire results. Fans of the new pop breed, though, will have much to shout about, thanks to what is generally a fetching collection that's best appreciated sans memories of the Fab Four and Brian Wilson's prime. ~ Stephen Cook, Rovi

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