11 Songs, 1 Hour 10 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Red House Painters' trademark sound of guitars and vocals drowned in ethereal reverb that had comfortably mirrored the legacy of their label (the leading Goth imprint 4AD) had been drastically altered with the band’s fourth album, 1994’s Ocean Beach and further distanced with this follow-up. With an album featuring three cover tunes (the Cars’ “All Mixed Up,” Yes’ “Long Distance Runaround” and 11 minutes of Paul McCartney’s “Silly Love Songs”), plus several extended “classic rock” guitar solos and acoustic tunes with pedal steel, it was to everyone’s benefit that the “band” start fresh. So, essentially a Kozelek solo album with guest musicians including Cracker’s Davey Faragher among the guests, Songs is an impressively expansive collection, beginning with simple acoustic guitar and pedal steel for “Have You Forgotten,” a touching reminiscence of childhood, and branching forth with a delicate duet for the title track that leads into the all-hell-breaks-loose electric cruise of “Make Like Paper.” “Silly Love Songs” may not be immediately recognizable to most purring along in such a lower gear, but “All Mixed Up” is kept intact and achieves a sublime serenity.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Red House Painters' trademark sound of guitars and vocals drowned in ethereal reverb that had comfortably mirrored the legacy of their label (the leading Goth imprint 4AD) had been drastically altered with the band’s fourth album, 1994’s Ocean Beach and further distanced with this follow-up. With an album featuring three cover tunes (the Cars’ “All Mixed Up,” Yes’ “Long Distance Runaround” and 11 minutes of Paul McCartney’s “Silly Love Songs”), plus several extended “classic rock” guitar solos and acoustic tunes with pedal steel, it was to everyone’s benefit that the “band” start fresh. So, essentially a Kozelek solo album with guest musicians including Cracker’s Davey Faragher among the guests, Songs is an impressively expansive collection, beginning with simple acoustic guitar and pedal steel for “Have You Forgotten,” a touching reminiscence of childhood, and branching forth with a delicate duet for the title track that leads into the all-hell-breaks-loose electric cruise of “Make Like Paper.” “Silly Love Songs” may not be immediately recognizable to most purring along in such a lower gear, but “All Mixed Up” is kept intact and achieves a sublime serenity.

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