Radar Bros.

The Fallen Leaf Pages

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The Radar Bros. have made a career out of sounding both glacial and sun-baked. Their albums are models of consistency, never varying much from the stately rhythms, and The Fallen Leaf Pages is no great departure; in fact, it is for the most part a carbon copy of the records that have come before it. As before, each resolutely midtempo song is based around gently strummed guitars and layers of synths and pianos topped by Jim Putnam's strangled wisp of a voice. As with past albums, the lyrics on The Fallen Leaf Pages are pretty dark, dealing with death, grief, loss, and other generally grim subjects. The production is as textured and widescreen as before, Putnam doing the honors and creating a full and rich sound. If only he and his trio mates had created some interesting songs to go along with the sound. If you were into past Radar Bros. albums, you will probably like this too, as it is of a piece with their output. Or you may side with those who might find that the songs trudge past one after the next, never making much of an impression and leaving the listener no real hook to grab on to. The Fallen Leaf Pages is the kind of record that holds no surprises or excitement, the kind that sounds over before it reaches the halfway point. (Of course, the couple of songs that have any spark of life come near the end of the record, long after all but the hardiest listeners will have moved on; both "The Fish" and "Breathing Again" have some emotion and heightened sense of drama that is missing elsewhere. Too little, too lateā€¦.) Like a smooth, shiny pebble, all you can really do with it is skip it across a pond and watch the ripples as it sinks out of sight and mind.

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