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The Jefferson Fracture

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A finely crafted piece of art pop from New Jersey sons David Nagler (guitar, vocals) and Thom Soriano (bass, tapes), with much help from many friends, The Jefferson Fracture opens in a swirl of fuzz and buzz, leading to the syncopated and jittery "Fingertips." This song sets the tone for the first third of the record: nervous verses, soaring choruses, wry, self-deprecating lyrics (courtesy of songwriter Nagler), taut performances, and thick arrangements. As for the latter, the duo has no qualms about bringing everything from prepared tapes to string quartets to a small horn section into its neurotic world. The results can be dizzying and highly inventive, and also allow for the more stripped-down numbers (the pensive "I Got Lucky," for instance) to provide a welcome catharsis. The remainder of The Jefferson Fracture shifts and churns restlessly as Nagler tries to satisfy his different personalities, enjoying the virtues of sunny pop ("Hey Carol"), country-tinged balladry ("Horse Song, Pt. 2"), and ominous experimentalism ("The Mechanic") with equal relish. In this sense, it wouldn't be too far off the mark to think of The Jefferson Fracture as a close cousin to XTC's Oranges & Lemons, another album that embraced smart songcraft and a wide array of pop moods.

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