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We Live In Rented Rooms

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Recensione album

Fred Cornog's seventh album of slow, sad home-recorded pop songs does not, when you get down to it, sound all that different from the first six. There are subtle changes: whether because of upgrades to his home studio gear over the years — he recently traded in his trusty old Tascam 388 for a Korg D1600 mini-studio — or his increased mastery of it, his music has evolved to the point that it can hardly be described as lo-fi any longer. We Live in Rented Rooms feels positively lush; despite the familiar, humble drum machines and no-frills strumming, it's brimming with warm, comforting keyboards and quietly meticulous arrangements, projecting a calm, unassuming stateliness. If anything, these songs are even slower than ever — nothing exceeds a modest, amiable lope, and several numbers are so leisurely they barely seem to move at all. They also just might be the slightest bit less sad, or at least less self-loathing, although nothing remotely approaches cheerful (unless a line like "When you were doing cocaine/You never slept alone" qualifies). Certainly, in the five years since the last East River Pipe opus, the hard-luck stories and workaday misery that have always typified Cornog's songs have grown sadly all the more commonplace, which by design or circumstance makes Rented Rooms that much more poignant and topical. It's not hard, for example, to see the political resonance of a song like "Backroom Deals," which sketches, in a few simple lines, a sharp portrait of lifelong drudgery, hard-earned cynicism, and bitter complacency. The hymnlike, heartbreakingly beautiful "Three Ships," meanwhile, essentially allegorizes all of American history through the eyes of a Native who watches three European ships appear, only to depart leaving nothing but "highways and silicon deserts." Elsewhere, Cornog shows us individuals for whom creativity is hopelessly fraught (in "Tommy Made a Movie," whose titular figure is too psychologically self-crippling — and too distracted by online porn — to actualize his cinematic daydreams) and romance is inevitably compromised if not doomed to failure (the wistful "Summer Boy"; the wry standout "Payback Time"). With a few exceptions, it's usually ambiguous how directly personal these songs are for Cornog — when he's drawing specifically from his own notoriously troubled life experiences and when he's looking further outside himself — but it's ultimately insignificant. What matters is that this is some of the most economical and effective songwriting of his career, bolstered as always by his appealingly understated delivery and gorgeously crafted musical settings. In short: another astounding, resounding East River Pipe triumph. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi


Formato(a): 1989, New York, NY [Queens]

Genere: Alternativa

Anni di attività: '90s, '00s, '10s

East River Pipe is the guise of singer/songwriter F.M. Cornog, who began recording his melancholy one-man pop on a Tascam 388 mini-studio in his apartment in Astoria, NY. Born in Suffolk, VA, and raised in Summit, NJ, Cornog followed a difficult childhood with a series of jobs in a carpet warehouse, a greenhouse, and a light bulb factory. After a longstanding bout with alcoholism and an emotional breakdown cost him his job and left him homeless, Cornog hit rock bottom; while sleeping in a Hoboken...
Bio completa
We Live In Rented Rooms, East River Pipe
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