Chris Harford & the First Rays of the New Rising Sun

Wake

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Chronicling suburbia through a dreamer's eye, Chris Harford's Wake creates a wall of sound out of Harford's wailing guitar and rotating band, including drummer Claude Coleman, Jr., keyboardist Fil Kronengold, future Amfibian bassist Matt Kohut and drummer J.P. Wasicko, and Ween founder Mickey Melchiondo. Throughout, the music dances with cliché, lyrically and structurally. The extremely cluttered sound attempts to alleviate some of the more predictable movements, though it abides by its own hackneyed values in the process. One successful piece of the sound is the use of Jane Scarpantoni's cello, which cuts through the mess on the disc's first two tracks, "Like You Do" and "Joe Strummer's Midnight Dream." Unfortunately, she all but disappears from the disc after that point. David Mansfield's banjo makes a nice appearance on "Be True to You," which is followed by a cover of Evan Dando's "Ride With Me." The disc ends with the epic "Leaf of Fall," which might sum up Harford's work in all of its sensitivities and excesses.

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