Editors’ Notes Essentially a Mac McCaughan solo vehicle, this is Portastatic’s second album of 2006 (the first being a film soundtrack) and his ninth Portastatic release overall. His 2005 release Bright Ideas was phenomenal, and Be Still Please shares some of the same qualities that made that one so memorable. The nine songs are split between catchy tunes that will immediately burrow into your memory (“I’m in Love (With Arthur Dove),” “You Blanks”) and emotionally affecting, complex, and lushly arranged ballads that feature gorgeous piano, strings, keyboards, and oboe passages (“Black Buttons,” “Sweetness and Light,” “Like a Pearl”). He uses a wide range of colorful guitar tones, and the inventive interplay between electric and acoustic guitars is especially impressive. And then there are his lyrics, which, even when obtuse, are always intriguing and often funny, with lots of sharp wordplay and witty observations. His voice (which he compares to both a “broken saw” and a “sickly shrew” on “Sweetness and Light”) sounds more intimate and assured this time around, which suits the introspective nature of the songs. Be Still Please is another impressive collection by a consistently strong, imaginative, and sadly overlooked songwriter.

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