Dolour

Suburbiac

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"That [Dolour] is the band name. Well...it's not really a band, it's just one guy." So it says right on the spine of Suburbiac. Now that we've got that out of the way, Shane Tutmarc -- whose placidly handsome visage takes up the entire CD cover -- is the guy and this is his second recording. He's clearly listened to a lot of lovesick harmonic pop in his time, everything from the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Big Star to fellow Washingtonians like the Posies, but it's surprising how much "Highway Hypnosis," in particular, sounds like a less dance-oriented Scritti Politti. Although "new wave" isn't an appellation that applies to Dolour quite as well (despite all the keyboards), there's no shame in conjuring up the spirit of that now largely forgotten "sophisti-pop" band (whether intentionally or not) -- Green Gartside and company had it all over the haircut bands of the 1980s, what with Gartside's heavenly vocals and superior sense of songcraft. If the less-consistent Suburbiac doesn't quite hit the heights of Scritti's classic Cupid & Psyche '85, it's still an admirably accomplished release from this mop-topped boy wonder and his multi-instrumentalist pals.

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