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Maroon (Bonus Track Version)

The Webb Brothers

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Album Review

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the sons of Jimmy Webb ("The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress") have an affinity for emotional bombast and Baroque flourishes. Their second album is full of soaring choruses and orchestral backdrops that might as well have been inspired by Tunesmith, Webb the Elder's giant treatise on the art of song. Less predictable are the steps the brothers take toward forging their own distinctively contemporary voice. Their subject matter is the lifestyle of carefree (and careless) swingers, and they capture it in spare, acidic lyrics that are almost the opposite of their father's grandiloquence. "Fluorescent Lights" is typical: "It's three in the morning she's lovely/But ugly to me/In fluorescent lights we'd be sickening to see." "All the Cocaine in the World" takes the strategy to an extreme. It's built on a single line, repeated in pretty harmony: "All the cocaine in the world/Can't bring back the girl." While the themes remain constant, musical styles fly fast and furious. Jangly guitar and kitschy synthesizers power "Summer People," horns and rolling piano take over for the cha cha "Intermission," and "Fluorescent Lights" is a strings-heavy waltz. The eclecticism, along with the jaded, wasted character of the lyrics, makes Maroon a cousin to Rufus Wainwright's Poses, another breakthrough album by a second-generation songwriter. The marriage of sophisticated, catchy melodies and cynical sentiments also brings to mind the work of Joe Pernice. That's impressive company for a couple of young talents still skulking in the shadows of "MacArthur Park." [The Japanese version included bonus tracks.]

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

Justin Webb (vocals/guitars) and Christiaan Webb (vocals/keyboards) are the sons of legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb. After first attending Boston University, they later shared a one-room studio in their adopted hometown of Chicago, IL, and soon were playing local rock clubs and dives in the Windy City. By the summer of 1998, they felt they had gone as far as they could and began concentrating their efforts on writing and recording an album's worth of demos in the group's rehearsal space in order...
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Maroon (Bonus Track Version), The Webb Brothers
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