Sentimental Education

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In 2007, the San Francisco Bay Area rock band In Reverent Fear released an album called Stomacher. Two years later, having undergone personnel changes, the band re-emerged calling itself Stomacher, and "reverent fear" might be a good description of its debut album, Sentimental Education. The quintet, now consisting of singer/lyricist/guitarist/keyboard player Jarrod Taylor, guitarist Stephen Reinhardt, guitarist Greg Francis, bassist Jeffrey Tollefson, and drummer John Lazarus, plays moody, atmospheric rock, over which Taylor sings in a near falsetto. His largely unrhymed words poetically treat matters of dread and doom, with only glimmers of hope peeking through. "I'm as desperate as I seem," Taylor declares over and over in "Parade," and by this, the penultimate track on the album, it's easy to believe him. Of course, this sort of ominous rock has brought success to several bands over the decades, even if most of them have been British. It's Joy Division-by-way-of-Radiohead, and Stomacher approximate the style effectively.