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A Bedroom Community

Franklin Bruno

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Album Review

Perhaps the highest compliment you can pay a great singer is claiming you would go so far as to listen to the artist in question singing the phone book, steadfast in the belief the end result would be nothing short of remarkable. On the other side of the coin, Franklin Bruno is such a singular composer that this writer would gladly fork over hard-earned cash for a Bruno a cappella disc: never mind that the man is a barely passable vocalist — his lyrics are so ruthlessly clever and his melodies are so ingenious that the conventional trappings of popular music become moot when appreciating his gifts. (Although for an example of what a truly good singer can do with this material, check out Jenny Toomey's brilliant Bruno covers LP, Tempting.) Bruno's proper solo debut, A Bedroom Community, is by no means an a cappella record, but its sparse, subtle arrangements nevertheless place the focus where they belong, and the songs do not disappoint — couplets like "You store up resentment like a photo-electric cell/You soak up contentment like a packet of silicon gel" and "My heart skipped a grade/While my mind stayed behind" exemplify the scathing wit and the emotional depth of Bruno's most compelling efforts, and the melodies are no less deft or engaging.

Biography

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Musician, journalist and philosophy teacher Franklin Bruno first emerged in 1987 as the singer/guitarist for the prolific Los Angeles-based indie rock trio Nothing Paint Blue, winning wide acclaim for his relentlessly clever and verbose lyrics. Bruno co-founded the group while attending Pomona College, and in the years to follow their recording and touring activities were restricted by his graduate philosophy studies at Claremont College and subsequent teaching gig at UCLA; the first Nothing Painted...
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A Bedroom Community, Franklin Bruno
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