Radiator Hospital

Sings Music for Daydreaming

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Sings Music for Daydreaming is the fourth official album by Radiator Hospital, the Philadelphia-based project of Michigan native Sam Cook-Parrott. After making his first three Salinas Records releases with a band and recording assistance, Daydreaming is his first to be self-recorded and performed entirely by Cook-Parrott since his D.I.Y. days in Grand Rapids. The results are much more in line with his Salinas records than his early cassettes, in terms of both sound quality and its mix of stripped-down and scrappy full-band arrangements. Among the sparer tracks are songs about a guitar ("Guitar") and about divulging a close-held secret ("Corner Booth"). A simple but heartfelt ode to a guitar he once accidentally left behind, "Guitar" dinks out two-finger piano accompaniment with harmony vocals to a narrative that includes more revealing lines such as "Never thought I'd lose something I cared about/Never thought we'd see ourselves for what we are." The ambling "Corner Booth" opts for acoustic guitar and ends with an unresolved chord progression to match its story. The wistful vocals of those songs also apply to more energetic tracks like the bouncy, full-band "I Never Dreamed" and the dissonant power pop of "My New Chord." On the subject of dissonance, "Alright Again" is a dreamy, midtempo ballad with out-of-tune guitar and wonky vocal harmonies that complement jumbled thoughts like "Drunk on nothing much to say" and the anticipation of things taking a turn for the worse. Punchier and more uplifting, "Cupid" has Beatlesque harmonies on a higher, effervescent vocal line that's projected outward to the club, as opposed to the more intimate tone of the rest of the record. Taken together, Sings Music for Daydreaming sounds like the work of a guy with some stuff to offload, including a cache of good tunes.

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