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The Loud Family
FROM RITUAL TO ROMANCE
(125)

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Frontman Scott Miller apparently took it personally when the Loud Family failed to make it big. Following their demise three years ago, he swore off performing and songwriting for good. Heís since posted a bunch of severely self-critical essays on the Loud Family Web site, sounding way too smart and emotional for his own good.

Those are, of course, the very qualities that made the Loud Family so glorious. And this posthumous live album is typically unconventional, drawing on their most obscure album tracks, a few covers, and a couple tunes from Millerís earlier band Game Theory. The opening medley of "Where the Flood Waters Soak Their Belongings" and Brian Enoís "Here Come the Warm Jets" features dark, ominous keyboards from Alison Faith Levy and a throat-shredding Miller vocal; itís the sound of a band whoíd explode if they hadnít gotten to play those songs at that minute. The most uplifting number here ó and, hell, in recent memory ó is called "Dee-Pression," and it leads to a letter-perfect cover of the Pixiesí "Debaser." Elsewhere thereís the usual blend of finely crafted pop hooks, elusive yet resonant lyrics, male-female harmonies (Levy joined the band late, but she was Millerís ideal foil), and more self-depreciation. The last words sung on Millerís intended final album are "Iíll do better next time." Letís hope there is one.

BY BRETT MILANO

Issue Date: May 9 - 15, 2003
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