Lullaby for the Working Class

Song

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The final offering from Ted Stevens' Lullaby for the Working Class is their most pensive and orchestral disc, but also their most beautiful. The revolving cast that also includes brothers Mike and A.J. Mogis as well as violinist Tiffany Kowalski would reappear in a similar fashion a few years later on Stevens' Mayday project, but this is more of a full-band effort, and the cohesive work of the artists involved truly pays off. From the gorgeously lilting opener, "Expand, Contract," to other lengthy but enlightening numbers like "Seizure," Lullaby for the Working Class are the predecessors to the slowcore movement and orchestral pop acts that followed a few years later, and this is their epic offering and inspiration. Almost creepy in its subtle nature and free-flowing structure, Song is a disc that takes a number of listens to fully appreciate. Once its complicated shell is broken though, the band's core is still incredibly emotional, but features far-from-sappy songwriting led by Stevens' surprisingly powerful and evocative vocals. Chamber pop acts like Matt Pond PA owe a lot to the work of Lullaby for the Working Class, and even those who might complain that the band stretches their tunes a bit too long should eventually succumb to songs like the cheerful and quick "Sketchings on a Baroom Napkin," wherein the Nebraska outfit proves that you can indeed make a happy-sounding tune without ever smiling.

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