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With Complete Glossary for Squares[CD]
'With Complete Glossary for Squares' is the sophomore release from Arlington, Virginia-based chamber-pop collective The Crowd Scene. Fronted by the husband-and-wife tandem of Grahame Davies and Anne Rogers, and supported by percussionist Evan Pollack, The Crowd Scene mint a timeless pop evoking the bittersweet sensibility of mid-period Beatles, Brian Wilson, Ray Davies, and -- more recently -- Elvis Costello, the dBs, and Aimee Mann. What emerges is a melancholic optimism that acknowledges life's oblique obstacles and simple wonders. Mastered by Jon Astley (The Who, George Harrison, Tori Amos) at Close To The Edge in London, 'With Complete Glossary for Squares' features context-aware cameos from Chris Stamey, formerly of the dBs, and Neil Luckett of tvfordogs. The record joins a Wampus Multimedia roster that includes new and imminent releases from tvfordogs, the matthew show, Venus Flytrap, Kowtow Popof, and Arms of Kismet, as well as 'After Hours: a Tribute to the Music of Lou Reed' (to which the Crowd Scene contributed 'Candy Says') and 'If I Were a Richman: a Tribute to the Music of Jonathan Richman' (on which they performed 'When Harpo Played His Harp'). # # # On The Crowd Scene's last album, 'Turn Left at Greenland'.... 'The Crowd Scene are one of the brighter examples of British pop today, and their debut album, Turn Left At Greenland shows off all sides of this diverse band. The band is comprised of Anne Rogers (bass guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Grahame Davies (guitar, keyboards, vocals), and along with a few selected musicians, they have delivered an excellent album that concentrates on well-crafted songwriting and excellent production. There are folksy and baroque touches to the album, and many of the songs are propelled by some excellent rhythm guitar playing by Davies. Rogers voice is reminiscent of Chrissie Hynde, while Davies is a cross of Alex Chilton and Michael Brown of The Left Banke, if that's possible. The songwriting is uniformly excellent, from the Squeeze-esque album opener 'Weather Song,' the breezy 'Surprise' (which has a positively delicious vocal from Rogers), to the rocking 'Backtracking.' 'Walking Round The World's Fair' has a great jazz-swing groove that is one of the high points of the record. Absolutely worthwhile, and a good sign for the future of British pop.' --Matthew Greenwald, All-Music Guide 'Primarily the brainchild of bassist Anne Rogers and guitarist Grahame Davies, The Crowd Scene is a walking encyclopedia of pop hooks and melodies from both sides of the Atlantic. Sometimes it's the brainy pop of 10CC or the quirky cleverness of Squeeze, sometimes it's the sweeter confections of Neil Finn, sometimes it's Brian Wilson's soaring Pet Sounds harmonies and the moody reflections of Jellyfish. Vocally Rogers has a more than casual resemblance to Sam Phillips, and Davies is a dead-ringer for Glenn Tilbrook, and their voices are marvelously complementary to each other and to the material. Whoever they happen to be channeling at any particular moment, Rogers and Davies inject the history of modern electric pop into each and every track on Turn Left At Greenland, with truly stunning results. Helpful hint: don't look to the lyric sheet for any insights -- it looks as though it's been translated into another language and then translated back into English.' --Audiocafe 'Amiable co-ed pop duo with a '60s folk-hue and bits of psychedelia thrown in for good measure. Grahame Davies writes and sings 'em like The Sneetches, and it's a nice deal now that it's been a few years since we've heard a record like this. It's all too rare. Tracks like 'Weather Song,' 'Circus Act,' and 'Walking Round The World's Fair' are fine top-drawer pop songs, replete with divine production touches. The sunlight is allowed in and everything breathes with a warm glow. Yet another band who finds the studio to be their friend and not their enemy. A note to those who enjoy interesting packaging ideas: the band decided to have their lyrics translated into another language and then re-translated into English, and the results are included in the CD booklet. To say the least, it's a very funny and confusing adventure to follow it along. One of this years more subdued gems that will fall back into the playlist long after the year has run down.' -- Pat Pierson, Yeah Yeah Yeah Magazine 'The Washington D.C. duo of Anjelica Huston-lookalike Anne Rogers and South London expatriate Grahame Davies is full of ideas on their debut, spinning out excellent songs in a variety of styles as if limiting themselves to one is somehow cheating. Alternating songwriting and lead vocals, Rogers and Davies essay melancholy restraint ('Weather Song'), psychedelic textures ('Surprise'), cryptic folk rock ('Circus Act'), sparkly folk rock (the handclap-accented 'Stupid People'), quirky pop ('Global Village Idiot'), hazy guitar jangle which suggests Let's Active under the influence of My Bloody Valentine ('Walking Round the World's Fair') and pretty much anything else which pops into their heads.' --Stewart Mason, The Weekly Alibi.
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