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splendid > reviews > 4/11/2002
Town and Country
Town and Country
C'mon
Thrill Jockey


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "The Bells"

Buy me now
The all-instrumental C'mon is like sunlit water, absolutely pellucid in its composition. The production is so clean that you can hear each instrument separately, but they flow together like the colours in a Mark Rothko painting. Such paintings -- and this kind of composition -- seem easy to pull off, but you know they're not. "Bookmobile" in particular, which features traditional Latin sounds (marimba, handclaps, string bass, cornets), meanders on in a gentle, thoughtful way, the guitar almost plucked rather than strummed, the bass clarinet notes sliding into melancholy while the cornet cries slowly in the background and the marimba plays a circular melody. You can listen to the disc over and over and never get bored; there's always a new musical idea to discover in a place that you didn't expect to hear it. One such surprise is the handclaps in "Bookmobile", which you'd expect to find in a livelier Latin dance tune rather than something that sounds like the songs played after the crowd left the danceteria in the opening of Soy de Cuba. There's only one such surprise that drives me off like eight-week-old milk: in the third minute of "The Bells", the cornet starts honking like a car alarm for approximately a minute and fifty seconds. After that, I was tempted to break the disc over my knee, but I soldiered on, and I'm glad I did. The rest of the songs -- "Going to Kamakura"'s delicate celeste melody at the song's ending, the effective call and response repetition of bell and hand chimes in "I'm Appealing" -- offer significant reward.


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