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Writing Down Things to Say

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Album Review

Following three years after the understated but enjoyable mélange of Static Patterns and Souvenirs, blending a solid if familiar rock sound with general electronic experimentations, on Writing Down Things to Say Lorna took a much more traditional bent. It's no bad thing at all — Mark Rolfe and Sharon Cohen remain in excellent voice as the core vocal duo — but it's a consolidation of strengths that is more notable for its craft than its unique creativity, something where fans of acts like Mojave 3, Belle & Sebastian, and any other number of polite, reflective performers will all find something to catch the ear. Songs such as the opening "Look Left," with the combination of acoustic guitar and harmonica suggesting a calm country summer's night, and "Monsters Are Forever" hold down the feeling of the album as a whole, gently accomplished and never less than sweetly listenable. But the true standouts are the variations, where the band's earlier sense of pushing new recombinations of sounds continues if often in a calmer way. "(I Wish I Knew) How to Build a House," with its arcing rise/fall/rise of an arrangement highlighted by a softly stunning organ and bells break, and "Mostly Good Times," a sharp title matched with a softly blissed-out feeling of bright sonic glaze, are easily the standouts on this front, though they are ultimately also noteworthy for being the standouts rather than the baseline of the album as a whole. Writing Down Things to Say does have its moments, but perhaps not everything needs to be said in the end.

Writing Down Things to Say, Lorna
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