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Brown Shoe
1 hour
15 tracks
Brown Shoe’s sophomore independent release sees them extending their ethereal rock and roll brand in a number of new ways since their debut.  The bulk of the new release is still their signature mix of dreamy alt rock similar to My Morning Jacket, but there are a variety of little touches throughout that show signs of progression.  The instrumentation is broadened (the starkly ringing bell in the highlight opening track, “The Ship”, is a fantastic touch) and some vocal experimentation surprises in later tracks.  Where the band shows the best improvement is in overall clarity – the themes and lyrics within this sophomore release connect together more readily than their previous effort, making for a more affecting listen overall; there are songs present that cut deep into issues of emptiness and sadness, of regret and loss.  There is still room to refine this – the music does not always stay connected with the feelings portrayed by the lyrics, and sometimes the experimentation doesn’t seem to add much to the overall effect of the album – and perhaps simply a less bulky album with three or four less-assured tracks removed from the song order would of solidified the album more fully, but it is still a positive step up for this indie outfit.  The feeling given is that the band is tentatively trying out both subtle and apparent new ideas, a sign that they are still moving forward and refining themselves.   It will be certainly worthwhile to see where they continue on next.
Jonathan Avants 6/20/07


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