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Review: The Czars, Goodbye

4.5

The Czars, Goodbye

Asomehow strangely familiar blend of shoegazer rock and alt-country warmth, The Czars’ breakthrough and third full-length album Goodbye packs all the punch of a tear-stained “Dear John” letter. Wrenching in its precise evocation of feelings better left in the dark corners of the mind, singer-songwriter John Grant crafts a record split down the middle between accessible pop songs and more avant-garde, experimental pieces that effortlessly straddle the jazz, glitch, and rock genres. Goodbye is a work of ambitious scope and uncomfortable honesty, a record that lingers on the fringes of your mind long after the final track, “Pain,” has faded; a slow burn that smolders through the title cut’s gentle train wreck and the exquisite “Paint The Moon.” The shift in tone is evident not long into the oddly terrific “I Am The Man,” when the autumnal melancholy gives way to bracing, edgy compositions such as “I Saw A Ship.” That the distinct halves coexist so peacefully here speaks to this quartet’s considerable skill at maintaining a consistent emotional through line. The album bears all the hallmarks of a classic downer yet faint hope pulses beneath every song; Grant’s certainly no stranger to the rockier emotional climes of life, but refuses to be bowed. Long-time cult favorites in the UK but criminally overlooked here at home, the bittersweet poetic brilliance fueling Goodbye will find many new fans saying a hearty hello.

Label: Bella Union Release Date: March 8, 2006 Buy: Amazon

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