Lesser Birds of Paradise

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Crafting a beautifully concise indie pop album, with shimmering guitar textures and accordion figuring heaving into the largely subdued mix, the debut from The Lesser Birds of Paradise is so relaxing that the clever lyrics of primary songwriter Mark Janka may slip by those not paying close attention. Though they incorporate such non-standard rock instruments as jaw harps, musical saws, ukuleles, and dulcimers, the result is fairly straightforward pop songcraft. While many songs seem to fall somewhere between broken-down folk balladry and the more overtly tuneful side of Yo La Tengo, the charmingly rocking ditty "When You're a Pretty Girl" finds a nice organ-driven groove and the seemingly random associations of the edgy "God-Forsaken Polaroids" are exceptional. Still, tracks like "Row of Lights," with its delicately fluid keyboard melody, are just as indicative of their starkly obscure pop sensibility. In the end, The Lesser Birds of Paradise succeed in finding their own sound, certainly an accomplishment on a band's first album.

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