Radar Bros. The Fallen Leaf Pages

[Merge; 2005]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: pop-rock, indie rock
Others: Red House Painters, Tripping Daisy, Low, Silver Jews

The winter thaw is slowly washing over parts of the Northern Hemisphere, and spring couldn't be a more welcomed site. The days of rain and snow, wind and frost are about to be replaced by warm breezes and glowing sun. The evenings will turn from cold and cloudy to moonlit adventures by the faint, distant glow of city lights and stars. As we shed the outer shells of coats, sweaters, mittens, and scarves, minds turn to enjoying nature and the idealism that past youth brought. And so it is time to find the accompanying soundtracks of spring and summer -- those albums and those songs that help us enjoy and remember wonderful warmer seasons.

May I offer up the first nominee for 2005: The Fallen Leaf Pages, the Radar Brothers' latest offering. The album epitomizes lazy spring afternoons and casual evenings spent cruising the countryside or strolling the sidewalks of the city. Steve, Senon, and Jim have always had a knack for taking simple pop songs and transforming them into works brimming with hopeful emotion and wonderful music interplay, and The Fallen Leaf Pages is no different. The ease of the instrumentation and the hushed vocals do their part to loosen you up as the music whisks you away to the innocence of childhood and teenage dreams that have never left the recesses of your mind.

"Dark Road Window" rides the wave of a wistful guitar riff recalling the acoustic psychedelia of the early '70s. The images the song paints transcend the lyrics, as whooping voices lend the music a breezy feel. It's reminiscent of driving in a car going 75 mph with all the windows down or the top off, and not giving a second thought to where you're going or if you're even going to make it to a concrete destination. The meandering "The River Shade" runs like a small creek swelled with a recent summer thunderstorm. The track follows the same mellow ebb and flow most the album sways with, rarely deviating to rock the boat or burst the dreamer's bubble.

Mellow is the phrase that pays when listening to The Fallen Leaf Pages. The album is an open look at the wondrous craft of songwriting and how song can conjure up images of youthful hope for the most mature of audience. The album never loses its heart throughout the thirteen tracks, concentrating on maintaining the relationship between the listener and their summery escapades.

1. Faces of the Damned
2. To Remember
3. Papillon
4. Government Land
5. We're Not Sleeping
6. Dark Road Window
7. Like an Ant Floating in Milk
8. Is that Blood?
9. The River Shade
10. Show Yourself
11. Sometime, Awhile Ago
12. The Fish
13. Breathing Again