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All the Falsest Hearts Can Try

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Album Review

Will Johnson's straining voice and lyrical surrealism on Centro-Matic's fourth full album elicit comparisons to the psychedelic pop that the Flaming Lips fashioned throughout the 1990s. Borrowing from the Lips' theatrical arrangements on their albums, the tracks on All the Falsest Hearts Can Try overlap thematically, so that the entire album seems to run in a continuous strain of inventively assembled music. The wistful lyrics clinging to a lilting classical piano accompaniment on "Cool That You Showed Us How" shift directly to "The Blisters May Come," with its grinding guitar and screaming speculation about impending pain. This stirring contrast in turn moves into an impressive array of solid indie rock. Although for the most part Centro-Matic's sound draws from indie archetypes like Guided By Voices and Pavement, it reveals the band's roots in a Texas tradition of guitar-driven blues, country, and rock. During certain parts, the album quiets down to a beautiful, eerie mix of acoustic guitar and Wurlitzer organ or piano. But both the loud and the soft, the distorted and the purely acoustic, and the screaming and the whispering in Centro-Matic's music feel contaminated with a melancholy that is as alarming as it is compelling.

Customer Reviews

Buy this album.

Do your self a favor and buy this album. Ranks up there with my favorite Uncle Tupelo album. Incredible, hope to see Will Johnson at the Cactus Cafe on Saturday.


Formed: 1995 in Denton, TX

Genre: Alternative

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

A prolific, eclectic, alt-country band based in Denton, Texas, Centro-Matic began in 1995 as a side project for singer/songwriter and guitarist Will Johnson. Though Centro-Matic released a few singles that year, it wasn't until 1997 that the project began to resemble a full-fledged group. After recording the 23-song debut album Redo the Stacks at his friend Matt Pence's home studio, Johnson enlisted Pence as the band's drummer, along with cellist/violinist Scott Danbom and bassist Mark Hedman. The...
Full Bio
All the Falsest Hearts Can Try, Centro-Matic
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