Someone Else's Deja Vu
Author: Eric Hill
07/10/2008 | Exclaim! | www.exclaim.ca | Album Review
A problem arises on indie labels when one band burns hundreds of watts brighter than the rest of the roster. Though if Joe Knapp is affected by Conor Oberst's 98 pounds pressing down on him it doesn't show on this wonderful third album. In the more than three years that have elapsed since Key, the band have shed several members and added new ones from the line-ups of the Faint and Tilly and the Wall. The resultant sound is a messy but tasty mishmash of bouncy, Jobim-esque Tropicalia ("A Girl in New York City"), Syd Barrett-kissed psych pop ("Legend of Lizeth") and '60s left bank chanson ("Quand tu marches seul"). And that's just the first three tracks! Thankfully the album is more than just a pastiche of borrowed styles, though previous song crushes (the back catalogue of Elvis Costello, for example) still poke through. All of the strands of influence are drawn together by Knapp's songwriting skill, shining through clearly on unadorned tracks like "Constellations." It's been gift wrapped hastily but for all its dog-ears and sticky edges, it's a present anyone should love tearing into.