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Album Review

As if to erase any doubt that he is doing business as Breaking Laces, singer/songwriter/guitarist Willem Hartong appears alone on the cover of the "band"'s second album, Sohcahtoa. On the album's tracks, he is assisted by a number of musicians, most prominently Chris Liberti, who contributes some combination of bass, keyboards, electric guitar, and drum programming on most songs, as well as mixing and co-producing the record. But this is Hartong's project, and, decked out in T-shirt, shorts, and mismatched socks on the cover, he appears to embody the persona of one of his songs, "Geek in Love." As that title suggests, his songs tend to be introspective but appealing. They are well-crafted pop tunes set to his acoustic guitar playing, sung in a gentle croon, with catchy hooks and romantic (if geeky) lyrics. The spare, engaging style is reminiscent of the Police, if that band were led by an introverted, bespectacled guy in Queens, NY, instead of an assertive rocker like Sting.


Formed: 2002 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Alt-pop band Breaking Laces began life as a solo project by singer/guitarist Willem Hartong, who recorded the albums Operation Income (May 2003) and Sohcahtoa (February 2004) on his own. He then joined with drummer Seth Mazarsky, later adding bassist Rob Chojnacki, with whom Mazarsky had played previously in the band Darby Jones. Hartong, Mazarsky, and Chojnacki played live extensively before recording their first album together, Lemonade (August 2005). The six-song EP Astronomy Is My Life, But...
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Sohcahtoa, Breaking Laces
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