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I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle

Portastatic

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Album Review

Mac McCaughan manages to be extremely prolific yet maintain a high level of quality, and on I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle he created an idiosyncratic masterpiece. The guitar twangs out pretty but dissonant melodies while McCaughan sings oblique lyrics deep in the mix. His voice is nasal and slightly flat, but somehow he manages to evoke strong feelings in material like "Gutter" and "The Main Thing." This album set the pattern for the solo albums McCaughan released under the Portastatic name, with a wide dynamic range and occasional raging slabs of rock mixed in with quiet tunes. The instrumentals are almost reminiscent of Polvo in their use of drones and odd time signatures and are worthy of mention. The best of the rockers here is probably the bouncy "Silver Screw" — what it's about is anyone's guess, but it sure is catchy. Like most of McCaughan's projects, I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle reveals layers of ideas with repeated listening, a feat very few of his contemporaries manage.

Biography

Formed: 1992 in United States

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Mac McCaughan became an indie rock hero while fronting Superchunk and by founding and managing the successful Merge Records — Portastatic was the outlet for his solo recordings and songs that didn't quite fit his day job band. The side project began in 1992 when Tom Scharpling of 18 Wheeler Records asked McCaughan to release some of his lo-fi four-track recordings; he obliged with the singles "Sandals with White Socks" and "Starter." Then in 1994 McCaughan released an entire Portastatic album,...
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I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle, Portastatic
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