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The Singular And Clandestiny Get Graded

The Singular

Death by Radio

(self-released)

myspace.com/thesingularmusic

With its newest EP, the Singular changes musical tempos frequently. "One Small Step" starts out sounding like a classic Dashboard Confessional song but then shifts into the quirky pop of Barenaked Ladies. There's an overwhelming emphasis to bring narrative to the songs, but the themes are so obscure, you might not be able to relate to them. The best cut on this five-track album is "Super Highway." It provides a sense of hope, with lyrics alluding to the "wars" that people face everyday. But when the band tries to harmonize on "Sad Suite," it's really a step in the wrong direction. - Erika Schramm

Clandestiny

The Introspective Year

(self-released)

myspace.com/clandestinymusic

Recorded over the course of 12 months at Musaic Studios, The Introspective Year certainly lives up to its title. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Matt Duplessie sounds like a broken man, whispering most of his vocals and writing mostly about death. The album commences with the undulating "Wandering in the Pessimist," a tune that features bits of hushed vocals and delicate keyboards. The tempo picks up a bit on the rest of the songs, as a rush of acoustic guitars drives "Callous" and layers of vocal harmonies distinguish "Devils Run." Duplessie is capable of a wide range of music, and with tunes such as "Beginning to See," he delivers something that sounds like a sonic meltdown. At its best, Clandestiny evokes the textures of Kid A-era Radiohead. But too often it comes across as second-rate Dead Can Dance. - Jeff Niesel

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