Snailhouse

Fine

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Snailhouse is the bedroom pop project of Mike Feuerstack of the Wooden Stars. In the grand tradition of b-pop, he plays all the instruments himself. He also wrote all the songs and sings them in an aching, innocent voice that will remind listeners of Elliott Smith, a relaxed Will Oldham, or even the male equivalent of his bandmate Julie Doiron. Fine is Snailhouse's first album, recorded in 1995 and reissued in 2000 by Grand Theft Autumn. The 14 tracks are mostly acoustic (guitars and voice) ballads and all are unremittingly intimate and earnest. Feuerstack spills his heart into his songs but does it in a restrained fashion that avoids any charges of twee navel-gazing. Instead songs like the spare "Radio" or the piano-led "What Are Your Coordinates?" sound like small truths doled out with melody and kindness. Records this tiny are the remedy for anyone who feels poisoned by showy singer/songwriters or pop buffoons. Of course anyone who likes his truths with a bit more flash and pomp may find the record to be a touch too samey and overlong. But again, if you like small and true then Snailhouse's Fine is for you.

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