Pete Yorn

Pete Yorn

musicforthemorningafter

Columbia

It seems like the hype about this New Jersey-born singer-songwriter preceded his debut solo effort by months. And musicforthemorningafter nearly manages to live up to that hype. Producer Brad Wood (Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins) surrounds Yorn with arresting and continually interesting arrangements and Yorn keeps the hooks coming.

The opening “Life On a Chain” is a galloping number that sounds a bit like Grant Lee Buffalo. Yorn shows a more fragile side on the pretty “Strange Condition.” Songs like “Black” and “For Nancy” bear some resemblance to the softer side of former Wood clients the Pumpkins. The moody “On Your Side” sounds something like The Smiths crossed with Elliott Smith. And “Murray” is just a superbly melodic pop song.

My only frustration with this disc is with Yorn’s voice. While it can sound impressively confident on the melodic chorus of “Just Another,” all too often he chooses to sing in this scratchy, key-challenged, bored slacker voice that makes him sound just like dozens of other modern rock singers. Producer Wood does change up the vocal effects on Yorn with great frequency to keep things interesting. But if Yorn could manage to not sound like he just woke up for an entire album, he could really have something special.

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