Brown Recluse

Evening Tapestry

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

It took Brown Recluse a long time to follow up their 2009 Soft Skin EP with an album, especially considering that the songs for the EP were recorded in 2007 and Evening Tapestry was released four long years later. The extra time was worth it though, because you’re unlikely to find a better-constructed, more concise example of orchestrated pop in 2011. Both the sound and the songs are first-rate and they work together to place the band proudly in the long-running orch pop tradition they are so obviously influenced by. On Evening Tapestry you can feel echoes of the Left Banke, the Beach Boys, the Rain Parade, and the Ladybug Transistor in the precise way Brown Recluse surround their achingly pretty melodies with layers of sound and in the unexpected choices of instrumental backing. While most of the songs are built around gently layered acoustic and electric guitars, there are all sorts of vintage keyboards, horns, and percussion popping in and out to add texture to the mix. Add to this lyricist Timothy Meskers' unique perspective and the poetic slant of his words; he’s not happy to just dole out typical moon-June love songs but instead providing snapshots of city life, dead-of-night inner dialogue, and the occasional off-kilter love song. He sings the words in a tender, intimate voice that carries the melodies with an easy grace, sounding both confessional and utterly confused by the emotion hidden in the opacity of the lyrics. All the pieces fit together perfectly for Brown Recluse on Evening Tapestry, and it’s a pleasure from beginning to end. While the lyrics may be challenging to absorb at times, it’s a challenge you’ll want to undertake, seeing as how the most difficult words are wrapped in the most beautiful sounds and melodies. Fans of the Left Banke, the Rain Parade, and the Ladybug Transistor should embrace Brown Recluse and clutch Evening Tapestry close to their arrangement-loving hearts.

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