Saturday, January 22, 2011

Night Reports

2011 didn't have to wait very long for its first brilliant record. Recorded by Beau Jennings and Derek Brown, Night Reports' "You're All Out" is a somber, yet sharp record about a baseball player who plays worse the more he falls in love. Nearly every line is packed with heartbreaking baseball wit like "You are not like the others/ you're a swing and a miss". The analogies are heavy, but never feel forced or misplaced.

Musically, the album is largely simple piano, bass, and drum that deftly makes use of the simplicity of the ensemble. Similarly, none of the individual parts are particularly complex, but neither do the songs, or the album, ever seem boring. Think more sincere Ben Folds songs, only not really.

The most harrowing like comes from the song "Signal the Runner" in which Brown sings "the signal you were trying to send me was love. But I didn't get it, dear". This sums up the worst possible case for lovers, in my opinion. One tries to show the other how much they care, and it just doesn't get through. Not because the recipient is oblivious, but rather because they just don't understand.

The song "Hang On Me Darlin'" features Samantha Crain's beautiful singing and almost sounds like a discarded Decemberists song.

Billed as a "haunted baseball musical", "You're All Out" certainly delivers although in the most unexpected ways. It's a perfect album to listen to. It doesn't overwhelm with complexity but draws the listener in with ernest sincerity and honest emotion that is backed up with masterful talent.

The newsletter for Brown's WRITEBLOODY publishing label announced that this would be Brown's last venture into music without explanation. If true, it would certainly be a loss to music lovers, but I can't imagine a better way to go out. Bravo, Derek.

Listen here for free. Buy the album for $9. Type "haunted" in the coupon box and I think you get a good discount.

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