Last night I dreamed I was reviewing the new Everything Absent or Distorted disc, The Soft Civil War, when someone from the group called to say that they were done with wordy band names and had decided to change to the much simpler autonym LOVE. Despite the fact that rock history has already produced a popular '60s psych outfit with that handle, it seemed like a brilliant idea -- if only because love is a concise explanation for just about anything. The Soft Civil War, a love story by its own declaration, is bubbling with lovely pop melodies and delicate hum-along rock choruses. The simplest and shortest track, "Prelude to the Alchemist's Last Words," is perhaps the most memorable and poignant. It has only one lyric, repetitiously sung like the final stand of a broken heart: "I want to get it right." It's damn precious -- in a testing-the-gag-reflex sort of way. But then again, isn't nauseating sentiment what love is really all about?
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