Album Review

Stevenson, Laura and The Cans – “A Record” – [Asian Man Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/15/2014   A Library, CD

Precious to precocious pop, likely to find a happy home with KFJC
noise flight DJ’s or folks hankering for the sturdy structure
of a quaint ballad and a tang of twang, and guitars not trying
torture twist away from the ol’ porch wood. The band name almost
feels like a double vanity move. Not just the Proper Noun and the
things; even a compliment of the band sounds like a perverse one
for the singer/songwriter…”hey, nice cans”? Stevenson’s voice
and acoustic guitar are way up front in the mix, if not left
completely alone when the assorted cans take five or more bars in the
wings. Stevenson sure wears her Neutral Milk Hotel badge brightly,
(and sorta made me realize Jeff Mangum is a male kewpie doll).
Her voice demands banjo, and sounds pretty when singing to itself
in a multi-tracked mirror. “Landslide/The Dog” should work well
on Two-Headed Boys and Girls…it comes complete with nutty brass
band marching orders. Or perhaps “Beets Untitled” and its mini
song cycle with her high notes sung out arcing over the ramshackle
orchestra, and her sweet appeal for a love of the terrible. The
orig 8 songs came out in 2008, and three more tacked on by Mike
Park for this 2011 Asian Man release.

-Thurston Hunger

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