Life in the Shade

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Andy Chase has always been the George Harrison of Ivy. Adam Schlesinger has Fountains of Wayne to show off his pop songcraft muscles, and with her Europurr of a voice and those nouvelle vague looks, Dominique Durand is always going to be the trio's focal point. In Ivy, Chase fades into the background almost by necessity, but his second album as the primary driving force behind Brookville suggests that the singer/songwriter simply isn't the extroverted type. These 13 songs are quietly melodic midtempo reveries, lacking the Continental lounge feel of Ivy's best work, but with a similarly effortless, unhurried feel. Even the cover of The The's angsty "Slow Emotion Replay" (one of those '80s college radio nuggets that's at the heart of Chase's musical universe) is delivered in a breathy wisp of a voice over a polite musical backing that sounds like 16 Lovers Lane-era Go-Betweens. Anyone who likes Ivy (or the solo work of James Iha and Eric Matthews, both of whom guest here) will like Brookville's stylish indie pop elegance, but Life in the Shade is a descriptively titled album that never quite bothers to break a sweat.

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