Not sure if Norfolk & Western frontman Adam Selzer's Thomas Hobbes references ("We were both reading Leviathan/ Not necessarily your best seller") signify any more than some shared cross-café literacy, but it's probable. In its seven-year run, the band appears to have drawn up a commonwealth-through-social-contract type deal: Selzer's the sovereign, and citizens suspend sleep...(展开全部) Not sure if Norfolk & Western frontman Adam Selzer's Thomas Hobbes references ("We were both reading Leviathan/ Not necessarily your best seller") signify any more than some shared cross-café literacy, but it's probable. In its seven-year run, the band appears to have drawn up a commonwealth-through-social-contract type deal: Selzer's the sovereign, and citizens suspend sleepiness in exchange for the loveliest of songs, both gorgeous and soporific. Earlier albums (Dusk in Cold Parlours, in particular) were lulling and understated-- they portended great things, but lacked immediacy: If Selzer would swap reservation for liberties maybe he'd be onto something. N&W now outdo themselves effortlessly-- maybe inadvertently-- with the tour-only If You Were Born Overseas (originally sold on recent treks with M. Ward, the CD is now available on N&W's website). "The Shortest Stare" uncannily channels the Decemberists: Selzer croons unlike Dean Wareham, for once, and sounds as nose-jammed as Colin Meloy, as assured as Mark Kozelek. It's not any less authentic than usual, though, and the likeness makes sense: multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Rachel Blumberg is sometimes-drummer for the Decemberists, Selzer plays bass for M. Ward, and though the album's nothing exotic, it's still beautiful in its traditional grounding (itinerancy, rather). Norfolk & Western's tradition is in railroad tracks, Adam Selzer's great-grandpa, Adam Selzer, was the first conductor of coal trains across Virginia. Selzer and Blumberg deny themselves standard vehicular luxuries of modern transport, and insist on touring exclusively by train. Only so much shit can go down on trains, but Norfolk & Western's progressed from busted, kinda-boring boxcar moods to forward locomotion-- pushing their hallmark folksy envelope to span wider, with Overseas waxing and waning but mostly waxing poetical-- sometimes a stalled Polar Express shipping kids to snowier places, and others the jaunty engines to Anywhere, U.S.A.; they could've easily run out of steam, but pick it up instead: Even songs that don't fall far from the tree of previous work still move charmingly. "She Won't Be Famous" accrues strings and drums in a simple, perfect crux of resignation; a girl who's "timid and shy, doesn't try" only lets a privileged few hear her songs, but when Selzer eavesdrops ("On Sunday morning, I hear through the walls/ the prettiest voice"), it's bliss, more or less. Spotted with songs like these (see also "Porch Destination"), Overseas moves beautifully-- the voices of Blumberg and Selzer fit as perfect as usual-- but still stalls too often. Cinched tighter, their forthcoming A Gilded Age EP (which will include different versions of Overseas tracks, and others) seems terribly promising.
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1. The Shortest Stare (4:52) (Adam Selzer) 2. From the Interests of Few (3:19) (Adam Selzer) 3. A Gilded Age (3:45) (Adam Selzer) 4. Et Le Reve Fraichit (1:36) (Adam Selzer) 5. Edison (3:53) (Rachel Blumberg) 6. She Won't Be Famous (3:37) (Adam Selzer) 7. Banish All Rock (3:35) (Adam Selzer) 8. Song for Shtetl (0:54) (Rachel Blumberg) 9. Porch Destination (4:06) (Adam Selzer) 10. West Destination (2:23) (Adam Selzer) 11. Day One (2:54) (Adam Selzer) 12. You Can Always Return (3:03) (Adam Selzer)
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