Sweet sorrow

By MATT PARISH  |  November 11, 2009

At nine songs and hardly 25 minutes, Pronunciation is more like a tender parting at a café than the guest that lingers at the front door an hour after he put his coat on. Songs are quicker and sparser than on 2007's Alison Statton, and a bit scrappier. Album opener "Frank and Sandy" is like indie rock with training wheels — chiming power chords, acoustic strumming, shards of jumbled childhood memories dovetailing with post-grad anxieties. Elsewhere, lovers float in as disembodied voices on phones, boyfriends dote on ex-girlfriends, and the band take a minute to serenade a little spider on the cusp of winter. "If you miss me/I promise I'll miss you," ho-hums Churchman in "Someone Loves You." If you expected the perennially baffled-at-the-little-things voice in Pants Yell! to figure it out in the end, you'll be let down, but easily.

"I'm interested in keeping a bit of mystery about the band — that it wasn't just a band that practices in a basement," Churchman acknowledges. "It's its own entity."

This sentiment rings most clearly in "Marble Staircase," its three minutes of clapping and chording the most ambitious on the record, offering just enough time for Churchman to claim some space for himself in the pop memory: "I shout into the air, 'I was there!' "

PANTS YELL! + REVERSING FALLS | ZuZu, 474 Mass Ave, Cambridge | November 16 at 10 pm | $3 | 21+ | 627.864.3278 or www.zuzubar.com

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