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A Moveable Feast

The Sharp Things

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Album Review

The Sharp Things, led by the velvet-voiced Perry Serpa, have been developing their swollen indie pop sound for over a decade now, and in many ways A Moveable Feast could be seen as the culmination of their efforts. The jangly acoustic sensibilities that played around the edges of the last two albums are all but gone here, abandoned in lieu of focusing on re-creating (or re-envisioning) mid-'60s baroque pop. And to be honest, the Sharp Things have always been at their best when they've given in to florid instrumentation and outright bombast in the vocals department. Frontman Serpa's smooth vocals are perfectly fitted to this retro-chic sound, especially on blue-eyed soul tracks like "Cruel Thing." It would have been a huge loss if this track hadn't been included on the album, by the way (it was added at the last minute at the urging of Bar/None's Glen Morrow). Hyperbole is warranted. This is a thrilling, shiver-inducing torch song that condenses and focuses the Sharp Things best traits: their honkin', eleven-members-strong sound, their savvy songwriting, and their infectious energy. "Through with Love" is another standout track; it's a perfect storm of brassy, clown-colored theatricality, thoroughly affecting lyrics, and ebullient symphonic swirls (courtesy of the New York Symphonic Ensemble). It's the kind of indie pop over-the-topness that will have fans of this genre dancing on their tippy-toes. A Moveable Feast is hard to fault: the production is clean and wet (a sound, by the way, which belies the fact that this album was more or less recorded on a laptop), the material is wide-ranging and well made, and the Sharp Things themselves sound more mature and more confident than ever. Will it ever get better for this ragtag bunch of New Yorkers? It's not clear. This album might just be the Sharp Things' finest work.

Biography

Formed: 1995 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Vocalist/pianist Perry Serpa left his beloved New York City behind for a brief vacation in late 1995, escaping to the Pennsylvanian countryside with drummer Steven Gonzales. The two planned to record some indie pop songs for fun, recording under the fictitious moniker the Sharp Things. What came from those sessions was a good-natured, theatrical rock sound. This was incentive enough for Serpa and Gonzales to make the Sharp Things a reality. Over the next few years, the Sharp Things played gigs in...
Full Bio
A Moveable Feast, The Sharp Things
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