Miracle Legion

The Backyard

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The six songs on this album are midtempo, often yearning jangle-pop numbers, most with atmospheric, impressionistic lyrics. They're performed by a mid-range baritone singer whose voice is often somewhat buried in the overall sound mix. Around this, echoing background vocals are sometimes interwoven into the general texture. The accompaniment usually consists of ringing and frequently arpeggiated electric guitar, active yet tasteful bass underpinnings, and driving, yet never overstated drums. If you think this is all another way of saying that Miracle Legion's work is a dead-ringer soundalike for R.E.M.'s early-period songs, you're exactly right. The only non-R.E.M. touch in the first five songs are the occasional odd grinding harmonic dissonances in "Butterflies." The last song, the scintillating "Stephen, Are You There?" manages to convincingly conjure up a New-South sound by using only echo-drenched acoustic guitars, tambourine, and voice. In general, the songs are good, if not nearly as memorable as those of their main model. Production values are at times a bit haphazard. This attractive album is worth a listen, especially for those who like music in this style.

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