By Brian Turk
By Drew AIles
By Taylor Boylston
By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
The playfulness demonstrated by this seven-piece (Timothy Bracy, Lori Carrier, Paul Deppler, Andres Galdames, Peter Hoffman, Margaret Maurice and Shannon McArdle) is obvious even before the disc hits the player. The liner notes claim that a growing rift between the males and females in the band turned the album into a battle of the sexes: Rumours 2000, perhaps? This is a gag, of course, but it's one that pays dividends; these guys improve one song simply by calling it "Yoko's in the Band." Better titles make for better music.
Likewise, "Sasha Goes Too Far/It Could Be the Nights" uses self-awareness to leap over the traps into which many of the Line's peers tumble headlong. The song -- one of seven co-written by Bracy and Hoffman -- starts slowly, with the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar and male-female warbling that's on the precious side. But the words ("You're a fourteen-course mess in your holiday dress") are tougher than the treatment implies, and as the story moves forward, the tempo picks up and the tone brightens until it shines. "Baby, I Know What You're Thinking" is even bouncier, with something like a rock guitar riff putting some backbone into a narrative rich with sarcasm ("I've been leaning on morals too long/And I love the way you look on my arm"). As for "I Hope to Remember to Forget," it injects lyrical venom ("Strategizing over lunch/The worst star-fucker of the bunch") into the warmest of melodies. Elliott Smith couldn't have done it better.
The four ditties penned by McArdle are more straightforward, and that's not always a good thing: She doesn't seem to mean "My Tattered Heart and Torn Parts" ironically. But she's so gol-darned sincere that lines like "If I could hold you tight/Then we could fill this world with light/And I could read 'I love you' in your eyes" (from "A Bigger City") probably won't make your teeth ache -- which is a mighty big accomplishment. Considering the existence of Jewel, that is.
Hell, if Cher Horowitz gave We're All in This Alone a chance, even she might like it