THE LOUD FAMILY - The Tape of Only Linda

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"4 stars. Loud Family's first album, Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things, was obviously born of Scott Miller's fondness for the aural mix-and-match of the editing and mixing process. On the other hand, the group's follow-up, The Tape of Only Linda, reflects the work of a band that had spent some time on the road and came back playing tighter, harder, and louder than before. The sonic montage that dominated Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things is almost entirely absent; instead, this album goes for a live sound, with the group stretching out on longer tracks dominated by the guitar work of Miller and Zachary Smith, and while Miller's trademark melodic sense is very much in evidence, this is the closest thing to a straight-ahead rock album in his repertoire. (Even the album's semi-acoustic finale, "Ballet Hetero," has a surprisingly tough melodic undertow.) While Miller has traditionally dominated the songwriting process on his albums, The Tape of Only Linda reveals a greater sense of collaboration with his musicians; six of the ten tracks find him co-writing with other members of the band, and two songs are even sung by keyboard player Paul Wieneke (whose vocals don't fare quite as well as Miller's self-described "miserable whine"). Dark, heavy, and with more than a bit of sneering cynicism in its lyrics, this is the most atypical of Loud Family's albums; it's also one of their best."- AMG