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Leave Your Name (Jade Tree)

"The songs are all done, and as they go down on tape/The critics click their pens/Comparisons made and names dropped in all boldface/To sound like his best friends."

So begins "Sing a Song," the first track on the debut solo effort by Denver Dalley -- otherwise known as Statistics. Dalley is best known as Conor Oberst's sidekick in the wretchedly overwrought Desaparecidos, a group whose sole contribution to Western culture was keeping Oberst too busy to make a Bright Eyes record for at least a few weeks. Of course, on the press-release biography that comes with a promo copy of Leave Your Name, Dalley provides a backpedaling disclaimer so as not to piss off any of us name-dropping critics who might actually give him ink: "It's calling the reviewers out before they get a chance to review it. It's a tongue and cheek [sic] pre-emptive strike. I'm not trying to be ungrateful." This, to quote the release, is just Dalley trying to "candidly weigh in on lazy music journalism." Speaking of which, the bio then goes on to fawn laughably over the album's "full pallet of rock sonics," which really ought to read "full diaper of emo cliches": analog synths, half-assed arpeggios, contrived soft/loud dynamics and a voice that drips with smug ennui. The final analysis: The project sounds about as spirited and compelling as the cold, soulless science of statistics itself.

 
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