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Neighbor Singing

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Album Review

It's a bit surprising to realize that after almost decades of work this is Brad Laner's first solo album as such, but the veteran of such acts as Medicine and Savage Republic has worked alone before — this is just the first time he's done so fully under his own name. Taken from a batch of songs recorded at home over the course of three years, Neighbor Singing presumably lives up to its name, though his neighbors couldn't have had cause to complain; this is Laner at his most winningly pop, playing around with fuzz and orchestrations and whatever else he sets his mind to. After his extended explorations in more extreme instrumental sounds via the Electric Company, Neighbor Singing has more of the feeling of his work on the first Amnesia album, though even more winningly so, his long-based love for the Beatles and the Beach Boys coming through clearly but avoiding the retro pitfalls of so many others who have similar fascinations. In place of too clean re-creations or overwrought confections are easygoing melodies, gently treated vocals, and a lot of understated instrumental curiosity. "Lovely World" is an example of the album at its most extreme; from the sweetly straightforward enough vocal overdubs to the demi-glitch stop-start beats and guitar overdubs, from the skeletal to the intentionally overmic'ed (or so it seems). Meantime, "Alambres," with its more immediately warm guitar parts, still feels like an electronic construction, reassembling both music and singing in a collage that works against a sense of "natural" songwriting in the best way. There are a few family and relatives cameos as well but the best might be from his young son Julian who, among other things, contributes "random baby vocals" on the extremely spare and charming "Falling Time."


Born: November 6, 1966 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Guitarist, songwriter, and producer Brad Laner has been one of the most prolific men on the Los Angeles indie rock scene since the 1980s, releasing literally hundreds of records with various bands and under a handful of identities, but it wasn't until 2007 that he got around to putting out his first record, Neighbor Singing, under his own name. Born in 1967, Laner began making music with the group Debt of Nature in the early '80s, releasing five cassette-only albums and appearing on several compilations....
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Neighbor Singing, Brad Laner
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