Sanford Arms

Too Loud for the Snowman

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Downbeat soundscapes, minimal but jangley guitar work, and breathy vocals characterize this debut album from Sanford Arms. Frontman Ben London sits back and reflects on modernist discomfort, allowing for some cautionary feedback on some of the album's more aggressive, if not overtly passionate, tracks like "Red Vine" and "Permanent Wires." On most of the songs he adds atmospheric keyboards that give the feel of a melancholic coalition between resign and confrontation. The album's stronger tracks, like "Science and Industry," "Permanent Wires," and "Brass Ring" (which boasts harmonic overtones by Stephanie Wicker), sinuate through pop melodies that have been delicately seasoned with emocore sensibilities and field recordings by sound engineer Tucker Martine (Bill Frisell and Vinicious Cantuaria). While the tracks can at times seem a bit repetitive, London can't be faulted for his careful chord construction and knack for the understated hook.

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