Nearly four years after the release of the previous East River Pipe effort, The Gasoline Age, F.M. Cornog presented East River Pipe's fifth album, Garbageheads on Endless Sun, on Merge Records in 2003. Recorded at Cornog's home studio in New Jersey, the result is another collection of bright-sounding, darkly worded, and soul-searching epics from the one-man band. Cornog impresses with warm keyboards on "Monumental Freaks," a shimmering mini-orchestra on "I Won't Dream About the Girl," and the restrained but lush "Girls on the Freeway." While most of the songs retain more than a hint of gloom and despair, the album's slow, hypnotic, keyboard-based pace, infused with Cornog's passionate vocals, results in an inspiring disc overall. The music on "Streetwalkin' Jean" and "Stare the Graveyard Down," for example, barely rises above a hushed whisper, serving mostly as a backdrop to Cornog's sometimes anguished vocals. Throughout the disc, like on most of his albums, he sings tales of the underdogs of modern life, showcasing their highs and lows, but mostly their lows. The poetry of the disc's final song, "It's Always Been This Way," ends the disc with another song of soft, introspective slumber, making East River Pipe yet again stand far apart from the rest of the musical crowd.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer