Jason Anderson

The Wreath

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Jason Anderson's second release under his own name on K Records is a more elaborate affair than 2004's New England. The production on The Wreath, with its live tracking base and overdubs, is crisper and more present than New England, which adds a little more of a raw drive to the songs -- even when parts are pieced together loosely, which can be annoying for some and endearing to others, but ultimately works toward an intimate listen. Anderson tackles many areas on The Wreath -- the straight rock of "Citizen's Arrest," sounding like a British Fred Thomas fronting Small Factory; "Our Winter," which has an indie Bowie feel; and the Britpop-sounding closer, "When Will You Say?," with its swagger and humor that call up the Smiths and Echo & the Bunnymen. Yes, a lot to chew on. "My Balancing Act" is the best example of Anderson maturing as a songwriter, focusing on the music more and backing off on the vocals this time around, letting his voice be what it is to enhance the music and not force the vibe. Even simple acoustic guitar and vocal tracks like "If I'm Waiting" have the occasional piano or trumpet line that sneaks out of nowhere at the perfect moment, stepping the music up to a new level and displaying Anderson's songwriting skills. Rachel Jensen's contribution on vocals has to be noted on The Wreath -- she breathes extra life with her harmonies and timing throughout the record, and works perfectly with Anderson. The Wreath has something for everyone -- songs of loving, hurting, longing, and getting it right in a modern indie world, which Anderson does wonderfully.

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