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The Silent League
THE ORCHESTRA, SADLY, HAS REFUSED
(File 13)

Mercury Rev sideman Justin Russo steps into the spotlight with the Silent League, whose debut echoes the low-key psych-rock of their sister band. Joined in the studio by an assortment of guests including Revís Sean Mackowiack and Interpolís Samuel Fogarino, Russo handles all the singing and writing. Although the NYC group usually perform with as many as 10 people on stage, theyíre miniaturists: the arrangements are understated, and the songs form a dreamlike procession. The title track starts things off with a nostalgic whisper: "Who took my radio/The one with the stickers of shiny racing motor cars/Given out by troubled movie stars." From the airplay dreams of the lush "Goliath" to the magazine covers of the whimsical "Conversation," stardom is a recurring theme on Orchestra. Russo grows more personal and more strident on "Breathe," which offers a few words of encouragement in the form of a sharp falsetto hook. The bandís rainy-day shuffle gets a little sleepy over the course of the album, but with the elegant, "Hey Jude"Ėstyle sing-along on "Hey You Hurray," they say goodnight on a high note.

(The Silent League perform this Saturday, July 17, at Great Scott, 1222 Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton; call 617-566-9014.)

BY SEAN RICHARDSON


Issue Date: July 16 - 22, 2004
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