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Dressed Up For the Let Down (UK Comm CD Album)

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Album Review

Richard Swift threw his dice down a lo-fi Tin Pan Alley on the Novelist/Walking Without Effort, a collection of sepia-toned curios that spanned 2001 to 2004 but sounded like visionary pop acetates from the 1904 World's Fair. The native Minnesotan and closet anglophile taps his cane down "Penny Lane" on Dressed Up for the Letdown, a warm and deceptively inviting celebration of post-Revolver "Fab Four" ("Kisses for the Misses" is pure, amiable McCartney despair). Swift's laconic delivery is often compared to contemporaries like Ron Sexsmith and Rufus Wainwright, but when he tosses off self-directed barbs like "I played your heart but I broke two strings Jesus Christ, you're a lovely thing" from the swooning "Buildings in America," it's a Ray Davies or Elvis Costello comparison that he's more deserving of. While the album as a whole does wallow a bit, it never suffers melodically. The Richard Hawley-esque "Ballad of You Know Who" may conjure up images of a cocktail-cherry-covered beverage napkin, but it feels more like a wink than a teardrop, the ambling title cut perks up as a ghostly horn trio wanders in from the cold, and the cabaret-style closer paints John the Baptist as "The Opening Band" for Jesus Christ. Dressed Up for the Letdown feels like the wee hours of morning, and that may keep some listeners from breaking it out as often as they should, but like all good slices of melancholy pie, it's best enjoyed in your basement while the rest of the world is asleep.

Customer Reviews

This is a wonderful album

Clever, clever stuff, possibly more accessible than The Novelist (which i loved too!), but this certainly does not see Richard selling out! You really should check this out if you want to listen to a new sound that sounds different because he is the real thing. Well done!

Something different...

... or maybe not. Two or three big, fat tunes here but otherwise, fairly ordinary. Imagine a performer somewhere between Randy Newman and Rufus Wainwright - sadly, aspirationally only, but has potential, esp. if he can lose the camp squeak in his voice.


Born: 1977 in California

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter Richard Swift's lo-fi, sepia-toned style harks back to the Tin Pan Alley age. Born in 1977, the California native spent his youth locked in his room with a four-track recorder, a device that -- along with a computer -- the artist continues to utilize to this day. Influenced by everyone from Bob Dylan to early-'70s dub acts like the Congos and Lee Perry, he provided keyboards for shoegazers Starflyer 59 and released two records of his own, Walking Without Effort and The Novelist,...
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Dressed Up For the Let Down (UK Comm CD Album), Richard Swift
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