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Baby Comes Home

Patrick Cleandenim

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Album Review

First off, no it's not his real name: Patrick Cleandenim is a mangling of this Lawrence, KS-based singer/songwriter's first and middle names, which had been Patrick Clendenin Roberts' previous nom de indie. Baby Comes Home is a decisive break from Cleandenim's earlier work under any name, a unique and often delightful blend of orchestral pop (think of John Barry or Tony Hatch's more extravagant '60s productions) and smart, tuneful songwriting. Fans of OTT pop extravaganzas might remember John Southworth's equally overstuffed 1997 debut Mars, Pennsylvania, which shares some of Cleandenim's fondness for retro hooks and clever-clever arrangements, but Cleandenim is a less determinedly quirky lyricist. Those who really know their obscure pop craftsmen will kvell at the lovely "So You Think You're Gonna Live Forever," the best nod to Runt-era Todd Rundgren since June & the Exit Wounds' cult fave A Little More Haven Hamilton, Please. Another, better known, point of comparison on sassy retro-rockers like the horn-driven "Rocket to the Moon" and the shagadelic easy listening bliss of "Birds of Fashion," is the Pipettes' snarky updating of pre-psychedelic tropes. The overall sense of self-consciousness surrounding the enterprise might put off a few listeners who'll mistakenly dismiss Baby Comes Home as mere stylistic playacting, but a more careful listen reveals Patrick Cleandenim as a genuinely gifted singer/songwriter who has made one of 2007's most unabashedly fun records.

Baby Comes Home, Patrick Cleandenim
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