The best music always seems to be revealing new things, subtle nuances that don't make themselves apparent until you're through absorbing what's on the surface. At first, Clem Snide's major-label debut Your Favorite Music may seem built out of little more than top-quality surface materials: Eef Barzelay's expressively twangy vocals, alternately wry and resigned, are supplemented by just the right touches of Jason Glasser's strings and keyboards. The proficient arrangements don't necessarily knock you out at first, but while "1989" at first feels glib and detached—with Barzelay deadpanning, "tonight we're gonna party like it's 1989"—it's softened by a ghostly female vocal that gets more haunting every time you hear it. Like its knockout predecessor, 1998's independently released You Were A Diamond, Your Favorite Music's pleasures are many, varied, and subtle, from the gently shambling, string-driven "Exercise" to the beautifully spare, winsome "Bread." A faithful cover of Richie Valens' "Donna" closes an album that's as assured and engaging during its softest moments as when it steps up the tempo on upbeat crowd-pleasers such as "I Love The Unknown" and "Messiah Complex Blues." Like The Jayhawks' Tomorrow The Green Grass and other modern-day alt-country classics, Your Favorite Music simply possesses too much friendly charm and personality to wear out its welcome. It just gets better every time.
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