Thursday, June 21, 2007

Michael Zapruder's Rain of Frogs--New Ways of Letting Go (2006)

Artist-Michael Zapruder's Rain of Frogs
Album-New Ways of Letting Go
Release Date-Aug 15, 2006
Genre/Style-Indie Pop


Review-For his second album, New Ways of Letting Go, which appears nearly four years after his first, This Is a Beautiful Town, singer/songwriter Michael Zapruder has assembled a small orchestra of strings and horns, and dubbed the ensemble Michael Zapruder's Rain of Frogs. The music is engaging, melodic chamber pop that harks back to the psychedelic days of 1967 and the Beatles and the Moody Blues, all in support, of Zapruder's resonant, slightly flat baritone. That voice is first heard on the opening song, "The Alchemist," singing, "I do my work, a hundred milligrams is all I need." A hundred milligrams of what?, one may well ask, but the answer seems clear from the context, and for the rest of the disc, it sounds like Zapruder may have ingested those milligrams, since his lyrics, while full of flora, fauna, and, occasionally, fire (titles include "On the Arms of a Burning City" and "The Institute Is Burning"), don't seem to make any literal sense at all. That, too, is arguably in keeping with the psychedelic tone of the music that accompanies them. But it works to the disc's detriment, since the arrangements are built around the vocals, which are high in the mix and are sung clearly, as if Zapruder had important messages to convey. If so, those messages are almost entirely private.

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