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If It Was Easy

UHF

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Album Review

Though a lot of press releases these days claim their CD "combines elements of Radiohead, Coldplay, and Doves only to reveal some sub-standard, shambolic, whining, Anglophilic mess of self-absorption, this is one of those rare LPs that reaches for those Brit atmospheric heights and yet doesn't crash unceremoniously right back down to ground, wings burned off by the unforgiving sun. No: instead, UHF positively glides and soars!! Helped greatly by fantastic production from the man behind the desk on the last rather good Dandy Warhols LP, Gregg Williams, this Portland, OR psych-pop quartet come across like a 2001 Byrds, a pretty Beatles, a moodier Velvet Crush, a graceful And Also the Trees, and a late-period Ride (circa Carnival of Light) sort of group. They're all full of gauzy passages, sparkling vocals, and sharp songs that draw out the pleasures like a well-written short story. But they're flexible, too, and not the least bit gloomy or despondent — they're just damn lovely and rather heartfelt. See the Bacharach horns from the amazing Eric Matthews (who really needs to make another LP!!!) on the Church-like "She's Going Up." What sounds like a neat banjo and slide guitar, and then a flamenco trumpet on the bouncy "Easy," a twang of sitar amidst twinkling guitar passages on "Toast," or the playful Diamond Dogs "We Are the Dead" organ on the dreamy-little "Dear Prudence"-ish ballad, "First Thing in the Morning." Singer Jeremy Leff had already proven himself a promising writer on two previous LPs, but this is a huge leap of craft and sound, and it sounds near-perfect from start to finish. A highly accomplished record from one of the best emerging new U.S. bands you've never heard of; this sort of full-on artistic success isn't "easy" at all. Investigate!

Biography

Formed: 1998 in Portland, OR

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Portland natives UHF came together in 1998 when drummer Matt Johnson and bassist/guitarist Jeff Nelson met brothers Jeremy and Jordan Leff. Adding the brothers on vocals and guitar, respectively, the four recorded Pieces soon after their formation. In 2000, the concept album Lottery followed it up and became a minor hit in the Northwest indie...
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If It Was Easy, UHF
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