I'm Going Away (Thrill Jockey)

Back in 2003, the brother-and-sister duo released Gallowsbird's Bark, a crunchy blast of melodic garage rock (in keeping with the spirit of the time). They followed it up the next year with Blueberry Boat, an epic set of song suites and abrasive detours into noise that made the cute stuff more palatable. Both were great. Since then, the Brooklyn siblings' see-what-sticks approach hasn't always worked, most famously a collection recorded with their grandmother (which state law requires we mention in all reviews). But an eager listener could patch together a decent album from their last two -- 2006's Bitter Tea and 2007's Widow City. I'm Going Away continues those records' formula -- a narrative-free collection of tunes, some memorable and some less so. The best is "Charmaine Champagne," a jazzy number complete with noisy horn solos and a say-what? chorus about being "folked up." Elsewhere, "Drive to Dallas" goes from ballad to guitar freak-out in under five minutes; less enjoyably, "Even in the Rain" takes a charming melody and drills it into the ground. It's less novelistic than those audacious early works, but there's nothing wrong with releasing a set of solid short stories, is there?

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