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Music for the Here and Now

Pete Yorn - musicforthemorningafter
4 Stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: December 29, 2001

Peter Yorn

By Tony Bonyata

With alt / country kicking up quite a bit of dust throughout the last few years it seems as though a new male singer / songwriter sprouts up each month, promising to be the next six-string coffeehouse sensation. While South Jersey native Pete Yorn may not fit comfortably into these alt / country boots nor have folkie enough shoulders to hoist up a protest sign, on his brilliant debut album, musicforthemorningafter, he points towards a new direction for a man with a voice and a guitar.
With songs that are touching, some soft-spoken and all emotionally revealing, Yorn's music works as well for the prelude and during the act (whatever that act may be) as it does the morning after.
Not that the music here is all that revelatory. On its first spin the influences seep from the speakers hinting at a wide breadth of artists such as Jeff Buckley, Lou Reed, Joy Division and even Kurt Cobain. But while comparisons may be drawn, the final conclusion, however, is that Yorn has emerged a fully realized artist on his first album. While his well worn leathery voice alone would make this collection enjoyable, its his strong sense of songcraft that demands revisiting it again and again. His melodies are indelibly haunting at times, upbeat and hopeful at others and engaging always.
While musicforthemorningafter never strays too far from the singer / songwriter formula - mid tempo numbers with acoustic guitar and honest vocals - Yorn twists each track into something refreshingly new such as the forlorn "Lose You," with a laid back hip-hop beat and dead-pan vocals, the infectious opener "Life On a Chain" and the beautiful "On Your Side." Yorn turns thing up a notch on the quirky yet pounding rocker "For Nancy ('Cos It Already Is)," complete with a driving rhythm straight from the Foo Fighters, "Black," which mixes Pixieish sensibilities with a fat lazy '80s guitar line and the hopeful "Closet."
With songs this powerful along with vocals so compelling Pete Yorn proves that the next big thing has just arrived, and its about time.

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