THE LOUD FAMILY - Days for Days

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Scott Miller, leader of Loud Family, often seems to be torn between his gift for writing superb, intelligently hooky pop songs and his desire to send his work through the wildly fragmented grinder of his trademark editing process, which sometimes makes for a great album (Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things) and occasionally results in a puzzling semi-failure (Interbabe Concern). On Days for Days, Miller and his latest edition of Loud Family attempt to have it both ways; the nine odd-numbered tracks are strange, untitled bits of studio weirdness, while the nine even-numbered cuts are full-fledged pop songs, and for the most part the "real" songs are a significant improvement over what he served up on Interbabe Concern, especially the spirited "Cortex the Killer," the sweetly sad "Way Too Helpful," and the moody "Sister Sleep." Miller also benefits from a far more simpatico group of musicians this time around; former Game Theory drummer Gil Ray has a sure but subtle touch that fits Miller's songs perfectly, Alison Faith Levy's keyboards and backing vocals work beautifully in this context, and their melodic contributions dovetail nicely with Miller's own. Skip half the tracks on Days for Days and you get one of Loud Family's finest albums -- that, gentle readers, is why the good Lord gave listeners the programmable CD player.