While seemingly downplayed in the press, singer/songwriters Elliott Smith and Ben Folds had a child in 2001. They named it Slowreader and it was discovered that Texas rockers the Impossibles were a relative, although no one could really see the resemblance in the newborn child. Slowreader took the best elements of his fathers; from Ben Folds the child received its voice, and boy could it sing. Crooning gently and delicately, its first album, which was self-titled, also displayed Slowreader's ability to take a song and bring the sorrow and pain to the forefront of the tune. This is where the other father, Elliott Smith, started to show his influence on the child. Smith's ability to harmonize and create wondrous orchestration while simultaneously being a master at the simple, acoustically driven heartbreaking number is what he taught the child. All of these things combined to make for an 11-song album with splendid songs so akin to Elliott Smith and Ben Folds it's almost uncanny. From vocal intonations to musicianship, it's all there. Obviously recommended for fans of the aforementioned singer/songwriters, this duo made up of Rory Phillips and Gabe Hascall could really go places if they can show they're more than just second-rate, second-generation singers doing almost the exact same thing as the first generation of indie singer/songwriters (namely Smith and Folds). However, what's here is striking and raw, quite refreshing and no doubt odd to be appearing on a label like Fueled by Ramen.
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AllMusic Review by Kurt Morris