Day I Fell Down

Sweet to Be Strange

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A meatier and more electric follow-up to the Day I Fell Down's largely acoustic self-titled debut, 1998's Sweet to Be Strange benefits greatly from the beefed-up production. Unlike the later albums by the Posies, another Seattle duo that singers and multi-instrumentalists Robert Dan and Bradley Hooper superficially resemble (although Dan and Hooper unfortunately lack the Posies' pure pop way with a killer hook), Sweet to Be Strange actually benefits from the noisier production of former grunge midwife Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney). The duo's debut had skirted right off the edge of preciousness, but the chunky electric roar of the opening "Chiaroscuro" helps tilt things back over to the right side. Most of the rest of the album is improved by the addition of drummer Dalton Davis, but the unfortunate reggae and ska beats he adds to a couple of the songs make them sound unnervingly like bandwagon-jumping. The best songs are the ones on which Dan and Hooper blend their love of oddball melodic lines and unexpected instrumentation with relatively straightforward pop hooks, like "Under the Weeds" and "Bird in the Sky."

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