Ian Allen

Nova's Lounge

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It's not a surprise that professional athletes occasionally make records: back in the late '70s, Denver Broncos running back Jon Keyworth made a terrible soft rock album called Keys during the team's brief pre-John Elway heyday, and during their 2004 World Series season both pitcher Bronson Arroyo and general manager Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox were gigging around town with their own bands. However, there are two big surprises about the debut album from Ian Allen, a minor journeyman player for the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Arizona Cardinals: rather than the usual lame jock-rock, this is mellow, loungey downtempo electronica. Also, it's really quite good! Allen's tastes run toward skittering drum machines and house beats, but there's also a languid, jazzy quality to most of Nova's Lounge, and that tension keeps the record from drifting too far into shapeless ambience. Allen is a canny synthesist who doesn't stick with one set of influences for very long, preferring to layer a variety of sounds and beats into an enjoyable whole.

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