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From Burnt Orange to Midnight Blue

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Album Review

Sean Croghan's amazing first solo offering is a desolate, razor-burned troubadour's record loaded with confessional angst both real and artistic, a few full revolutions from the music he made with Crackerbash and Jr. High. His outpouring of woeful emotion runs the gamut, from an almost whimsical kind of feigned misery ("Gweneveire") to the adamant, resentful sort that sounds genuinely hurt. By mixing up the approach, the tenor of the album never seems like too much or too little of a painful thing. It isn't strictly an open wound, although there's an element of that. But Croghan is also smart enough to know that, as messy as love may be, there is an element of silliness that comes with investing so much into a single venture. The gloom, after all, will eventually pass, and when it does, you'll only be left with the memory of how pathetic it made you look. That is the beauty of From Burnt Orange to Midnight Blue. Stark, haunting songs like "Fridays Face in Sundays Suit" and the bleak cabaret of "Tom R." strip the drama down to its naked core while others, like the wonderfully jovial "Little Miss Whiplash" and "Its Gonna Be Alright," build it right back up. The music is as frayed as Croghan's singing, which jumps from its normal register up into a strained falsetto that falls just a few whiskey's shy of a tearful (or comical) bender, wandering into and out of tune. But the lo-fi atmosphere paints the music all the appropriate hues, whether shadow-colored or brilliant, whether it is a warped, bottom-heavy Western saga ("John McConnells Ghost") or a raw plea. And he pulls out all the stops on "Otis Tolstoy," an over-the-top rock on which he conjures Prince's pleading scream over and over until you start to reach for the handkerchief, to offer to the singer if not to use yourself. It is a wonderful album that leaves you wondering why you loved it so much, until you realize that Croghan covers the range of human frailties and failings with so much feeling that you have to catch up with the insights. The comparisons to Elvis Costello don't seem far off base at all.


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Conceiving original indie pop inspiring melodies, Sean Croghan brings forth distinct compositions of tuneful rock themes, especially illuminated by his undiminished vocal capabilities. A singer/songwriter, Croghan initiated his path in the music world as a member of Portland's Moustache in the midst of the '80s. During the following years, he formed the Hellcows and in 1989, he decided on assembling yet another band, the punk rock crew Crackerbash. Croghan remained with the band until 1993, the year...
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From Burnt Orange to Midnight Blue, Sean Croghan
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