Monday, November 29, 2010
CD of the Day, 11/29/10: Joe Adragna-Fall Back
If the name Joe Adragna doesn't leap right out at you, it's because he's been recording for the past few years as The Junior League, with two fine discs under his belt. Now he's decided to claim his own name, and earlier this year he released a best-of the two Junior League discs titled Parlophony. For his first Joe Adragna album proper he's taken a slightly more introspective approach from the Marshall Crenshaw-styled power pop of the League, enlisting the help of Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey, who need no introduction.
The Buck/McCaughey influence is most notably heard on the janglicious "You're Gonna Die Alone", the disc's best track. Combining Rickenbackers and the vitriol of an Elvis Costello with a catchy melody (and featuring harmony vocals from Susan Cowsill), it's almost worth the price of admission alone. Along those lines, "Leave Me Resigned" also has that early-REM/Young Fresh Fellows feel, and the shuffling "Ladders" recalls Bobby Sutliff. It's not all fun and jangle, though. The moody opener "In a Place (Looking Around)" recalls Salim Nourallah with a slight touch of electronica, the laid-back, beautiful "Like Nothing Else" feels like comfortable clothes put on after a hard workday, and "Far Away" is an outright country weeper, complete with pedal steel.
Adragna comes in for the finish with "Swezey's", a return of the jangle, the feedback-drenched "Depot Park", and the bright and breezy "Help, It's Strange", which is right in his sweet spot. The title track closes things out on a perfect note, a combination of regret, hope and those jangly guitars as it fades to a "bah-dop-bah" refrain. Adragna has really taken a leap forward here, and I can see why he chose to release this under his own name.
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