The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Reviews

Reviewed by Darcie Stevens, March 16, 2007, Music

Richard Swift

Dressed Up for the Letdown (Secretly Canadian)

Before Richard Swift was unleashed on a world of generic rock and electro dabbledry, there was no such thing as timeless vaudevillian angst. There were no contemporary piano balladeers. Swift's Dressed Up for the Letdown might be this generation's escape hatch. Unlike the lo-fi undulations of impressive 2005 double debut The Novelist/Walking Without Effort, the Oregonian songwriter's sophomore LP is a blasting foghorn, loud and clear. He's not some melancholy, sap-mongering hermit trapped beneath the covers. Self-deprecation is a blessing in the semicomical "Artist & Repertoire," and although Swift's spirits are lifted in such exclamations as the addictive "The Songs of National Freedom" and bombastic "Kisses for the Misses," the all-American beams in breakup cleverness "Buildings in America": "I played your heart, but I broke two strings." If Richard Swift isn't on your radar yet, time to adjust the antenna. The trend of pretentious pseudo-song-craft ends here. (Thursday, March 15, Mohawk Patio, 11:30pm)


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