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Good Things Come And Go Like Bad Things

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Album Review

Mike Aho is known for his videos and artwork but the visual arts aren't his only pursuit, as Sounder, his duo with drummer Steve Stratton, has shown. For the band's second album they create an attractive blend of everything from noisy murk to sweet singalongs — sometimes in the same song, as opening track "Good Things" readily shows — and in steering away from any easy categorization come up with a listen that's much more interesting than so many efforts-by-rote in the world of early 21st century indie rock as broadly defined. The easygoing roughness of compositions like "Daily I Will Calculate the Distance" and "If We All Collide in the Sun" among others helps to signal that there's a new generation reinterpreting the late-'80s/early-'90s heyday of "indie" rock as such, in the same way that acts like No Age and Times New Viking are, both catchy and scraggly and definitely not interested in pop-punch sheen. Aho's singing is in ways a perfect summary of the band on these tracks — distanced from the mic and in the mix but not inaudible, yearning but not strained, and often quite affecting. The sense of equivocation and not wanting to fully settle into a style or sound even gets hinted at in the song titles — "Those Days Were Good (As Days Sometimes Are)" and "Things Are Going to Get Worse (Before They Get Worser)" are two of the better uses of parentheses around — while the inclusion of everything from soft keyboard lines and muffled spoken word ("La Guerra Sobre La Mesa") to Tom Waits-like cabaret sea shanties keeps a listener involved throughout.


Genre: Alternative

Sounder, a duo whose cerebral, rustic tunes nod to Iron & Wine and Will Oldham, formed in the early 2000s as a collaboration between Mike Aho (who, at the time he formed the project, had directed several of Bonnie "Prince" Billy's music videos) and Steve Stratton. Aho and Stratton released their debut full-length, There Is Another Sun Clouded Over with Meticulous Care, on Volcom Entertainment in 2006. Sounder's second studio album, Good Things Come and Go Like Bad Things, hit stores two years later....
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