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Having already worked with Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, San Francisco's Jason Quever gets his chance at sensitive, romantic indie rock on Mockingbird, the follow-up to 2000's Rejoicing Songs. The Papercuts' songs are seemingly without hurt, yet, like its name implies, reveal something painful. Though the arrangements apply sparse instrumentation, Mockingbird is surprisingly lush, taking advantage of viola and keyboard (the organ in "Poor and Free" is one such highlight.) Quever's gentle falsetto glistens and soothes, even when his vocals are too slurry to understand. When you can make them out, they imply solitude ("I just want some peace and quiet here" he sings in "My Ivory Tower") and poetic ("You're a page inside a book" he explains in "Pan American Blues.") If those lyrics were more decipherable, it might add another layer of emotion. Still, Mockingbird has enough grace to remain heartfelt.

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