Sometimes You Hear Through Someone Else.

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Liverpudlian combo Cranebuilders have nothing to do with the Day-Glo psychedelia and dance influences of compatriots like the Coral and the Zutons: Sometimes You Hear Through Someone Else is all cigarette smoke and cold espresso, like a particularly grim French nouvelle vague film of the '50s. Even those songs that creep up past a funereal slog of a tempo, like the propulsive, Orange Juice-like indie guitar riffing of "Public Space," feature lines like "Always ill at ease in a public place and I feel like I wanna die." More typical are the snail-pace drums, droning guitar noise, and Tommy Roberts' diffident mumble of a voice on songs like "Fallen Arches" and "Vacuum Cleaner." Although parts of Sometimes You Hear Through Someone Else sound like they were made for those Smiths fans who mistrusted Morrissey's sense of humor and all those pretty, jangling guitar parts, it's not just the standard bedsit mopery. These songs are shot through with a strong sense of dynamics (note the tension between the soaring melody and the suicidal lyrics of "She Can't Find the Words," which is straight out of Neil Finn's Crowded House-era songbook), clever arrangements, and a dour but definable lyrical viewpoint, which makes the album well crafted, if not exactly radio-friendly.

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