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Secret Ruler of the World... (Circus 65 Records)
In another dimension is a place where the Elvis Costello sat down to jam with Tom Waits, Adam Levy, Neil Young, Webb Pierce, and The Cure. In this world, that place is Manchester, England and inhabited by Quiet Loner. Their CD Secret Ruler Of The World is packed - end to end - with sadness, pain, and heartbreak. To say that the songs are sad is understatement. The measure of emotional fortitude and honesty it takes to write and record songs like this is immense. The songs aren't just angsty and pathetic, they're snapshots of the darkest of moments in all of our lives. The track that hits hardest, "God Knows I'm Leaving" evokes the melancholy of Tom Waits' "Small Change." The arrangements are sparse and ethereal, reminiscent of early Honeydogs and lending to the already ghostly quality of the songs. The vocals are distinctly British, but the emotion is universal and the music is pure Americana. The production is transparent, leaving the impact of this CD to the music and lyrics. Like any good downer, this CD should be taken in moderation and be sure not to operate any heavy machinery later.
Quiet Loner's site has PayPal CD ordering. Released April '04. Reviewed by Clint Weathers.


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