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review:

Spiraling

Chris Auman

Tom Comerford Archive + Spiral


Tom Comerford
Archive + Spiral
[Spacesuit Records]

Tom Comerford, he of the long-running Chicago outfit, Kaspar Hauser, has brought forth a solo record unto the world. Using a different cast of musician friends and peers, Tom and Company recorded the eight songs of Archive + Spiral at a place called the Glamour Hole. Despite that studio's name, the resulting record is more ragged glory than razzle dazzle. While the record sounds undoubtedly like a Kaspar Hauser album, with its well-worn Americana sound and Tom's distinctive vocal delivery, Archive + Spiral might just be a little more laid back and a touch more melancholy.

The songs themselves sound more subdued than his previous work. There certainly seems to be a wider variety of instrumentation: mandolin, 12-string and baritone guitars, piano, organ, even handclaps fill out the arrangements. Traces of Tom's long-time influences: early REM and the Velvet Underground become evident at a listen, (there's even a countrified version of "Sunday Morning)" and the song "Dear Stephen Hauser" sounds like an American version of an 80s Robyn Hitchcock song. Archive + Spiral fits nicely into the Comerford/Kaspar Hauser canon of releases that sound both old and new, familiar yet unique.

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