Brown Eyed Susans

Afraid of Heights

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Brown Eyed Susans benefit greatly from the additional talents of Jason Falkner on their sophomore album. Falkner not only assists in production on a handful of tracks, but contributes his considerable talents on Wurlitzer organ, guitars, backing vocals, keyboards, and other instrumentation. It should come as no big surprise, then, that the album recalls the baroque melancholy pop of both Jellyfish and the Grays, two bands Falkner was associated with before embarking on a solo career of his own. On several of the best tracks, especially "Sundae School" and "Window Seat," bassist David Dattner's vocals are reminiscent of Freddie Mercury; the buoyant "Sundae School" even resembles a Queen outtake from their early- to mid-'70s era. "Let's Get Out of L.A." is infused with sadness and sad-sack lyrics ("The sky is grey with the skeleton bones you left me"), while "Suitcase Whore" is a Lennon/McCartney-esque romp with piano, strings, and horns. The remaining tracks veer from mopey power pop to sugar-coated Beatlesque guitars, and fill out the remaining space on the disc. Not a bad effort overall, though one would hope that they'd continue to define their own sound next time out.

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