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Album review: 'Hey Mr. Ferryman'

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Mark Eitzel

"Hey Mr. Ferryman"

Merge Records

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Former American Music Club frontman Mark Eitzel's "Hey Mr. Ferryman" is more than simply an album. It's a sweeping gesture: 11 sweeping gestures, at times both grandiose and simple. The record is mellow to be sure, but it doesn't get mired down in melancholy. It's lyrically sound and musically buoyant.

The dreamy soundscape that is "Hey Mr. Ferryman" is expertly burned to tape by Bernard Butler (ex-Suede) who also fleshed out Eitzel's minimalism by playing electric guitar, bass, and keyboards in the studio. The mood on "Hey Mr. Ferryman" is innocent yet strong, sensitive without yielding, sensitive without being weepy. It lets fly with some of the most adroit handling of melody I've heard in a long while. This is harder to achieve than you think and Eitzel is a master. It sneaks up on the listener and stays with them long after it's through.

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