Breaking Laces

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Sohcahtoa Review

by William Ruhlmann

As if to erase any doubt that he is doing business as Breaking Laces, singer/songwriter/guitarist Willem Hartong appears alone on the cover of the "band"'s second album, Sohcahtoa. On the album's tracks, he is assisted by a number of musicians, most prominently Chris Liberti, who contributes some combination of bass, keyboards, electric guitar, and drum programming on most songs, as well as mixing and co-producing the record. But this is Hartong's project, and, decked out in T-shirt, shorts, and mismatched socks on the cover, he appears to embody the persona of one of his songs, "Geek in Love." As that title suggests, his songs tend to be introspective but appealing. They are well-crafted pop tunes set to his acoustic guitar playing, sung in a gentle croon, with catchy hooks and romantic (if geeky) lyrics. The spare, engaging style is reminiscent of the Police, if that band were led by an introverted, bespectacled guy in Queens, NY, instead of an assertive rocker like Sting.

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