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The Long Winters

Putting the Days to Bed (Barsuk)

Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., Sept. 15, 2006

ACL Music Fest Reviews

The Long Winters

Putting the Days to Bed (Barsuk)

John Roderick, frontman for the Long Winters, may be putting his days of indie anonymity behind him as the Seattle foursome has released its strongest LP to date. On Putting the Days to Bed, the band's third album, Roderick completes his evolution as an imaginative and troubled storyteller. In addition to trading the agonistic, confessional approach of junkiedom for a more abstract persona, Roderick and company honor a commitment to hooky, rock-friendly tunes over their previously mellow indie vibe. From the stalker whose threatening letter has found its target in "Fire Island, AK" to the concerned mother of a teenage girl crushing on a rock singer ("Honest"), Roderick consistently keeps listeners guessing where the narrative will go next. In addition to these flights of imagination, Roderick reveals himself as possessing keen insight, bringing his own – and others' – flaws and foibles into sharp relief. "Hindsight" is a perfect example of how people learn to read their intimates, yet don't know how to preserve those relationships. The group's mastery of the element of surprise is a perfect example of how a band should grow from one album to the next, and it may well serve as Roderick's golden ticket out of obscurity. (Saturday, 4:30pm, Washington Mutual stage)

****

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