Pete Yorn

ArrangingTime

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Arriving after a six-year silence, ArrangingTime does seem like something of a rebirth for Pete Yorn: it finds the singer/songwriter re-teaming with his original producer R. Walt Vincent and debuting on a shiny new major label, Capitol. Yorn didn't quite disappear in the time since 2010's eponymous Black Francis-produced album -- he paired with J.D. King on the 2013 project the Olms -- but in a sense it seemed like he was wandering in the wilderness for even longer, never quite capitalizing on the promise he showed in the dawning days of the 21st century. On ArrangingTime, he doesn't seem anxious to recapture his puppy-dog optimism, nor does he seem bitter -- bruised, maybe, happy to slide into the smooth, slow electronic pulse that blankets the album. This manicured mellowness feels mature, a progression from a past that is nevertheless referenced: "In Your Head" recalls his original idol Ryan Adams and "Halifax" echoes "Black," yet there's little suggestion that Yorn is eager to recapture the mantle of the guitar-wielding troubadour so anxious to aspire to authenticity. Now a little bit older and wiser, Yorn feels settled in his skin, as happy to strum a song or sharpen a new wave hook ("Screaming at the Setting Sun") as he is to linger in pretty melancholy. On this record, Yorn seems to master mood more than tune, but that winds up being to his benefit. This tonal elasticity gives ArrangingTime an enveloping warmth, one that is alluring even if it tends to shift concentration away from the songwriting that allegedly was his greatest strength.

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