Murray Attaway: In Thrall

inthrallOn “Living In Another Time,” Murray Attaway alludes to being born five centuries too late. That may be a stretch, but based on the pictures in the liner notes and the songs, he is a man a bit out of time looking for a genre. It’s a shame that the music industry can’t figure out how to deal with talented songwriters who don’t fit neatly into any category, but Attaway seems to be a victim of that shortcoming.

This is Attaway’s only solo album, and I have it only because its third song, “Allegory,” was featured on the awesome compilation DGC Rarities, Vol. 1. Like a cross between Rick Springfield and R.E.M., Attaway writes smart, sharp lyrics that lead you through his complex, lush arrangements that branch out from guit/bass/drums into keys and strings. The songs feature catchy melodies but also enough depth that, even after having listened to this dozens of times, I keep hearing more and deepening my appreciation for it.

I can hardly find fault with anything. There are moments in “Under Jets” and “Fall So Far,” among others, where the timbres he’s chosen or the melody he lays on top of a harmony doesn’t work quite right in the way it’s introduced, but even in those cases it works to create a very nice variety of sounds and structures that make an already lovely album a real treat to get through from beginning to end.

It’s probably good enough for a 4.5-clown rating, but there’s something about my love for this that is more academically pleasurable than viscerally exciting, and I tend to reserve anything higher than four full clowns for that kind of heart-grabbing lust. Still, I keep coming back to this semi-frequently over the past two decades and enjoy it each time.

Mix: “No Tears Tonight”
Love: “Home”
Really Like: “Allegory,” “Living In Another Time,” “The Evensong,” “My Book”
“Under Jets,” “Angels In The Trees,” “Fall So Far,” “August Rain,” “Walpurgis Night”
Filed Between: [I don’t know, my CDs are all packed up for our move]
Song Notes: After the jump

  1. No Tears Tonight – I’m pretty impressed with the happiness, personal choice themes running through this song. I didn’t figure that stuff out until very recently, and even then only partially.
  2. Under Jets – Could never decide if he was saying “form a city,” “former city,” “farm a city,” or “farm or city.” It’s “Bomber City”
  3. Allegory – sounds like Maynard James Keenan of Tool, especially on “Whenever I look to the stars I get lost”
  4. Angels In The Trees – the violin gets a titch repetitive/annoying, but this is still a very good song.
  5. Living In Another Time – awesome. Maybe about reincarnation, or maybe he is just thinking about he has at times thought the Renaissance would be awesome to have lived through.
  6. The Evensong –
  7. Fall So Far –
  8. August Rain –
  9. Walpurgis Night – reminds me of Michael Stipe here
  10. My Book –
  11. Home –

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