Split Single And The Return Of Jason Narducy (And Some Guy From Spoon)!

There are few musical paths as oddly interesting as that of Evanston, IL native Jason Narducy.  With his roots in punk, he first hit the scene with Verboten, then as one half of the indie folk duo Jason & Alison, which doubled in size and recorded two albums for Epic as Verbow at the tail end of the last millennium.

Since then, he's played bass with Bob Mould, Superchunk, Liz Phair among others.  I mean, it's nice to see him making a living and getting work with some talented acts, but this is a guy much to talented to be a hired gun.  Thankfully, Spoon leader Britt Daniel agrees with us and jumped at the chance to join Split Single, whose album Fragmented World is streaming over at SPIN.

Of course, it may come as a bit of a junk stunner to Spoon/Divine Fits fans that Daniel is merely playing a support role here, as is Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster.  Of course, when the tunes are this stellar, even an egomaniac knows enough to just let Narducy's effortless hooks do the talking.

Fragmented World due April 1.
I can see why they wanted to be a part of this.  "Waiting For The Sun" and "Monolith" announce themselves with an authority akin to Babe Ruth signaling to the fence.  Thing is, Narducy doesn't intend to knock it out.  Instead, he knows just the spot to hit so that the ball ricochets to and fro almost endlessly.  By the time we the listener have caught up, he's stomping on home plate.

It's an elegiac celebration of intelligent songcraft that doesn't just resort to cranking up the distortion pedal to create a sense of forward momentum and discovery.  It's as if Narducy is finally able to show us every trick he's picked up over the past decade and every single one catches us by surprise.  I mean, on the surface, it's nothing we haven't heard before, but repeated listens reveal all sorts of sly variations and production flourishes that only heighten the prolonged payoff.

This is the sort of album to inspire many a rock critic to begin chopping away at that Best of 2014 list.

Grade: B+

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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