Soft Commands (Bonus Tracks) (Jpn)


aec.vart1287.2 1/13/08 New

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    Soft Commands (Bonus Tracks) (Jpn) Rykodisc
    1. Soft Commands (Bonus Tracks) (Jpn) Rykodisc
    2. Soft Commands Yep Roc

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Review Text Ex-Posies frontman Ken Stringfellow returns for another round of intricate pop/rock confections with the FM-ready Soft Commands. This time around, the singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist broadens his horizons with forays into Burt Bacharach soft rock, soul, and even dub. Writing and recording all over the world -- New York, Senegal, Stockholm, Seattle, Paris, Vancouver, and Hollywood -- Stringfellow has concocted a frustratingly obtuse record that's as beautiful and bold as it is shapeless and erratic. Soft Commands plays like a compilation, taking on Jackson Browne pop ("You Drew"), experimental reggae ("You Became the Dawn"), and heavily orchestrated Phil Spector bliss ("When You Find Someone") with varying results -- the latter sounds like a sequel to the Walker Brothers' 1966 classic "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore." Stringfellow's crystal-clear vocals have always been among his stronger attributes, and they couldn't be any better on tracks like the gorgeous and epic closer "Death of a City," but when he attempts a multi-note soul croon on the bluesy "Let Me Do," the cool confidence that rings true within the confines of his pop material is rendered shaky and thin by a milieu he may be better off appreciating from afar. Soft Commands is full of the intricate arrangements and clever wordplay that power pop fans have come to expect from the artist, and nowhere is that more apparent than on the serpentine rocker "Don't Die," a heavy, complex, and blissfully Posie-esque rumination on death that requires several listens before attaching itself to your brain like a remora to a shark. It's a reminder that despite the occasional deviation, Stringfellow is still capable of balancing beauty and danger within the confines of the four-minute pop song, and for fans of melodic rock everywhere, that's a damn good thing. ~ James Christopher Monger

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. You Drew - 3:06
  2. 2. Any Love (Cassandra et Lune) - 5:38
  3. 3. Known Diamond - 6:30
  4. 4. When U Find Someone - 4:52
  5. 5. Don't Die - 3:07
  6. 6. Let Me Do - 4:45
  7. 7. For Your Sake - 4:58
  8. 8. Je Vous en Prie - 4:34
  9. 9. You Become the Dawn - 3:26
  10. 10. Dawn of the Dub of the Dawn - 2:11
  11. 11. Cyclone Graves - 4:58
  12. 12. Death of a City - 5:32
  13. 13. Never My Love - 4:40
  14. 14. Down to the Wire - 3:58
  15. 15. New Test Leper - 5:00
  16. 16. Knocks Me off My Feet - 4:31

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