Dances with Wolves

South East

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First off, get those Kevin Costner images out of your mind. Get 'em out! Are they out? Good. That overwrought, overpraised movie has nothing to do with this singer/songwriter artist who is now using the name. Adrian Finch is a guy who's familiar to indie kids via his multi-instrumentalist work playing guitar, keyboards, violin, and saxophone in such bands as Elf Power, Masters of the Hemisphere, and Summer Hymns. After contributing a track on a Kindercore Records' comp as the Phones, another band with the same name sicced their lawyers on him, so now he's dancing with the wolves. That problem out of the way, his first proper solo LP is an unusual item: fragile, breakable, perishable pop, full of shopworn fatigue, dim dreams, and fractured, candle-radiating synth pop. He's actually got another wrinkle he interweaves, doing childlike, more up-tempo organ ditties not very far removed from the vintage Chills ("Thirty"); one detects a New Zealand influence in general, though of course it could be coincidence. But the rest is just his delicate voice, a voice that would sound unsure of itself if he didn't pen such nice melodies to coo and without the intemperate, tropical, luxuriously forlorn, far-away keyboards that inform this. It's a little too blue and parsimonious sometimes, and it often could resonate more deeply, coldly, and sharply, with greater spices. But at its contemplative best, South East is a keeper.

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