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The Jim Yoshii Pile-up

Homemade Drugs

Absolutely Kosher Records


When it's spectacular (like on opener "In Focus"), it's stunning, and when it's miserable (CD perfect moment "Middle Harbor Road") it's devastating. In between it's as good as anything Death Cab has put out, probably better and certainly more accessible thanks to the 5-piece's simple compositions and Paul Gonzenbach's airy vocals.

On "Middle Harbor Road," Gonzenbach convinces you of a young couple's hopelessness, trapped living in a trashy neighborhood where "They're selling guns on the corner" then asking "Maybe we should reconsider / How much do they want?" before coming to the conclusion that "This might be the best we ever do / Living in the gap between downtown and the water." Poignant. The first-person portraits of poverty and insecurity are almost confessional, and listening is like giving into audio voyeurism.

He does it again on throbbing "3+1" where he tells a desperate friend that "Honey, he doesn't love you. Can't you see the resentment on his face, the subtle abuse in his tone?" asking her to "Oh, give me a call. I'm still the same old guy you knew in school, the oldest 18 and so, so, so tired of life."

At its worst, it can become too dour and ignorable (you forget to pay attention at around track five, "Haunted Rooms"). Then you're rocked awake by "A Deep Deep Lake," that finds a way to weave some delicious piano amid a guitar-bashing chaos. Though they're from Oakland, they have that obvious Portland PNW indie sound -- the rolling guitar that reminds me of every DCFC recording, the cinematic chord progressions and majesty of the best Pedro the Lion tracks.


back torevhead.gif (1924 bytes)   Posted Nov. 24, 2002. Copyright 2002 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Rating: Yes

Obligatory pull-quote: "The first-person portraits of poverty and insecurity are almost confessional, and listening is like giving into audio voyeurism."