For a singer whose music has never really caught on commercially, Shawn Smith sure has released a lot of heavily hyped records. But sit down and listen to any of Smith's bands—Satchel, Brad, Pigeonhed—and you'll hear why he's so highly regarded by the Seattle hipsters (Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard, Soundgarden's Kim Thayil, et al) who regularly choose to work with him. Pigeonhed is a strangely compelling, experimental duo featuring Smith and oft-brilliant Seattle producer Steve Fisk, and the band's new The Full Sentence is a diverse, compelling, 66-minute melange of creepy/beautiful piano ballads, densely layered electronic effects, and soulful imitations of folks like Terence Trent D'Arby (to whom Smith bears a considerable vocal resemblance) and Prince (whose style and samples are co-opted to create "Battle Flag"). All three of Smith's bands are underrated, but Pigeonhed's The Full Sentence may be his finest, most unpredictable hour yet.

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