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January 2015
The Goodbye Party
"Silver Blues
"
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The Goodbye Party, a.k.a. Michael Cantor (formerly of The Ambulars), has released a new record Silver Blues via Salinas Records. The album finds Cantor largely in control using a vast arsenal of instruments, while also enlisting Joey Doubek (of Pinkwash) for percussive duties on a series of tracks.
 
“Heavenly Blues” nudges the entrance open to the cathedral of sound. Cantor’s smooth trustworthy vocals deliver a suggestive message amid a chamber of sonic layers, “…you have halos, you have lights, you have ghosts that sing into the night.” There is a well-produced divide, between that enlightening tone fortified by a residual hum, the soft drops and tapping tambourine, and bowed guitar that provides a more ominous dimension.
 
“Crossed Out” shoves that door further open with its optimistic jangly guitar/rolling percussion and bass, illuminating the scenery - “holes in the windows, where the wind slips through…” There’s a balancing point between the coldness of the lyrics and the resounding warmth of Cantor’s delivery and instrumental accompaniment. Taking foreboding tones of thumping percussion and the stirring rings of guitar, “I’m Not Going to Your Heaven” silver-lines them as the ringing morphs into a pleasant cry while the song winds down with a scratchy conclusion.
 
In a flash of joy, “Personal Heavens” is jumpstarted with a groove yet despite this, the lyrics reveal a grey point of view - “Homesick for personal heavens and homes you’ll never see again.” Slipping you back into the cathedral in “27 Times,” the finessed layering of backing vocals wrapping around Cantor’s lead shields it from the cold.
           
“New Decay” has a jaded push behind it, as guitars twist into knots and drums smash a path for Cantor to admit, “I keep breaking what I’ve already fixed/I keep fixing what I’ve already fixed.” Silver Blues closes with the bone chilling solemn string-oriented “White on White” - “the world/burns in the dark/echoed songs, resonations, every night.”
 
The record sweeps through ones mind in what seems like a moment. However, its melding of darkness and light leaves poignant, beautiful moments that makes Silver Blues worth revisiting frequently. - Michael Colavita

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Album Review: Exorcism - Power Animal

Album Review: Exorcism - Power Animal

The words of Power Animal may be obscured by a boatload of studio manipulation, but what they’re communicating is always clear: This is Feel-Good Music. Evident from Power Animal’s major-key synth hooks and disco percussions is a love of the kind of nostalgic sentimentality bands like M83 and Passion Pit maximize with unrelenting waves of keyboard and second-wave British invasion bands like The Kooks channel into plain-spoken love narratives. But unlike these late-aught champions of electronic-indie, Power Animal don’t do “pleasant” by blending every pleasant thing they could think of into an overwhelming pastiche. Instead of indulging dream-pop’s natural affinity for cheese and excess, Power Animal strip it down into the grimy, humble Exorcism, an EP that, with its bare-bones approach and subtle use of hooks, aims to reclaim the genre’s humanity. 
 
There’s no denying that Exorcism presents itself as “quirky.” The jerky keyboard lines and garbled vocals sound as if they’re culled from records warped by years of sitting in an attic (an image also brought to you by the record’s hazy, Mono production), and the wonky structure of its opening suite “Better Water” suggests the hippie-warbling excess Exorcism could’ve easily devolved into. But as the EP progresses, these cracks begin to reveal the sincere, very real character hiding underneath the saccharine signifiers. The little winks that pepper Exorcism’s excellent second half make it practically interactive. “Mold Spores” was already assured its place as the album’s best tune before the chuckle that slips through its second verse makes its glee infectious, as if we’re being let in on whatever great time Power Animal are scoring. By Exorcism’s eponymous closer, we’re sharing the record’s smile.
 
It could be a more “conventionally” pretty record, but it’d be worse for it. This ambitious kind of pop has a tendency to become weightless in its nostalgia-bating, and while Power Animal certainly capture the comfort nostalgia offers, they also capture its insubstantiality. Built from bits and fragments of pop-eras past, Exorcism sounds as if it could break apart at any moment. It holds together, of course, but as music that sounds like it wants to save the world through sheer positivity goes, Exorcism accomplishes something far more impressive: It actually manages to inspire the feelings it evokes.
 
You can purchase the album HERE, and all profits from digital sales will be donated to Philabundance, a local charity organization that provides food to the needy in the Philly area. - Adam Downer
 

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