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The End Of The World
You're Making It Come Alive
Flameshovel Records

If Hamilton Leithauser's painful rasp tries your patience, then you may not warm up to The End Of The World any more than The Walkmen. Its vocalist, Stefan Marolachakis, also sounds as if he's suffering excessively for his art and all that pain is going to, and through, his throat. His hurt makes it easy to believe this is the end of the world.

Furthermore, unfortunately, Marolachakis is the band's central focus. Song arrangements are hardly more complicated than that of the average folk singer's repertoire - albeit with added bass and drum parts. On "Sunrise At The Manse," The End Of The World slips into Galaxie 500/Luna mode, with a druggy, plodding country-ish dirge; the aural equivalent of driving through Southern California's Inland Empire and far from traveling the scenic route. "Fangs And Fog" drags on and over the same chord strummed over and over; all you can do is hope Marolachakis learns a new fret fingering (and quick!). "Party's Over" at least revs up the tempo and adds a jolt of welcome guitar noise. But this small drip of taste is not nearly enough to quench a dry man's thirst.

My high school band teacher used to extol the virtues of Barry Manilow. (I was in high school, remember. What did I know?) He explained how the dynamics in The Man's music, soft-to-loud and slow-to-fast, made him stand out as a special artist. He was dead wrong about Manilow being an artist, or anything special for that matter, but his comments about the necessity of dynamics nevertheless remain valid. Dare I say it, but the hip The End Of The World could learn a thing or two from The Mandy Man. Let's arrange a meeting at the Copacabana or something, eh?

You cannot stand face-to-face with a brilliant man and still appreciate what he is saying, if he has afternoon lunch cluttering up his moustache. Similarly, The End Of The World's earnest, yet aurally unappealing, sound presents a nearly insurmountable obstacle to the brilliance that might be in there somewhere.

-Dan MacIntosh

Track Listing:
1. Crowded Rooms
2 White Sands.
3 Last Cast
4 Sunrise at the Manse
5 Fangs and Fog
6 Party's Over
7 Spare Me
8 Show Your Age
9 This Simple Mess
10. Oh, Nashville

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