Set Sail the Prairie

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On their second album, Oregon based Kaddisfly continue to develop a sound that is big, rich and texturally varied, full of gorgeous multi-layered guitars and genuinely attractive vocals. Unfortunately, these elements are counterbalanced by song structures that sound increasingly disjointed and haphazard rather than thoughtfully complex, and lyrics that are obviously trying for poetic depth but achieve only embarrassing (sometimes really embarrassing) pretentiousness. At its best, Set Sail the Prairie delivers arena rock gestures that wear their rockishness gracefully -- the lovely "Clouds" and the ambitious and successfully cathartic "Birds" are both good examples. Unfortunately, they are also exceptions to the rule. The rule is songs that feel thrown-together (notice in particular the incoherent structure of "Waves") and cringingly awful lyrics. Lines like "How big is a rainbow? How big is a smile?" and "I am becoming ever more aware/In this hundred odd day of salty air" are, sadly, typical -- and even worse, the rhythms of the lyrical phrases fit those of the music so badly that singer Christopher Ruff is constantly forced to misplace his accents, making his words sound not only silly but awkward as well. If you succeed at ignoring the lyrics, Set Sail the Prairie will offer an intriguing, if uneven, listening experience.

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