My Education

Italian (Thirty Ghosts)

Texas Platters

My Education

Italian (Thirty Ghosts)

A primary tenet of screenwriting, and by extension, film, is starting scenes with the action already in full swing. "Snake in the Grass," opening My Education's long-awaited sophomore LP, does just that, the conversation between drums, piano, and viola taking on an immediate cinematic quality, as if excerpted from an Italian film score. The pattern is then set: begin with a tender étude, end in an ensemble flare. Mediterranean pacing – languid (James Alexander's viola), sweeping (Kirk Laktas' keys), quick to burn (guitarists Chris Hackstie and Brian Purington) – meets Sicilian consequence ("Plans A Through B"). The local sextet's sonic miasma has coagulated since 2001's comparatively lithe 5 Popes. The classical coating of "Thanksgiving," cradled in the rhythmic undercarriage of Eric Gibbons' bass and Sean Seagler's percussion, thickens to a crescendo by meal's end. The anxious, wheedling cry of Alexander's viola unsettles the ambient drone of "(Polyphonic Walnuts) Puppy Love," shifting into the inclement séance of "Texas Style." The third act ("Dirty Hands," "Green Arrow") drags – blurred, drifting – but the 12-minute closer, approaching the nuclear testing of Kinski, crystallizes in a more delicate center. Italian is paced like said nationality's filmography, and as such, it lingers long after.

**.5

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