Portastatic

I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle

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Mac McCaughan manages to be extremely prolific yet maintain a high level of quality, and on I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle he created an idiosyncratic masterpiece. The guitar twangs out pretty but dissonant melodies while McCaughan sings oblique lyrics deep in the mix. His voice is nasal and slightly flat, but somehow he manages to evoke strong feelings in material like "Gutter" and "The Main Thing." This album set the pattern for the solo albums McCaughan released under the Portastatic name, with a wide dynamic range and occasional raging slabs of rock mixed in with quiet tunes. The instrumentals are almost reminiscent of Polvo in their use of drones and odd time signatures and are worthy of mention. The best of the rockers here is probably the bouncy "Silver Screw" -- what it's about is anyone's guess, but it sure is catchy. Like most of McCaughan's projects, I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle reveals layers of ideas with repeated listening, a feat very few of his contemporaries manage.

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