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My Dad Is Dead 

A Divided House (Unhinged)

My Dad Is Dead main man Mark Edwards is as idiosyncratic a character as Cleveland rock has produced. His nasal moan, post-punk guitar sounds, mechanical rhythms, and worrisome lyrics are instantly recognizable. But since his brief stint as the darling of critics around the time of his 1989 double-LP masterwork, The Taller You Are, the Shorter You Get, Edwards has recoiled from sight.

These days, Edwards is slowly pulling himself out of the emotional depths that garnered his early My Dad is Dead records comparisons to Joy Division. The song titles hint at domestic acceptance, but Edwards' amazing wordplay still adds layers of confusion. "This house is a sanctuary . . . this world is a mortuary" he sings on "Oasis." Somewhere, his private hell is still smoking.

The music, though, can be downright heavenly. The hooks in "My Safe Place" and "The Ladder" have the transcendent gleam of prime Sugar. Angry sentiments and slamming drums ("Once You Know"), a speedy rant ("Consequences"), and a twinkling stroll ("Oasis") mingle with the rest of his dour daydreams with an ease that Interpol has yet to master.

More by Eric Davidson

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