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Review: The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library- Volume One by jason

The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library- Volume One. Self-released, 2011.

I talked about the Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library a few weeks ago when I saw them open for Neutral Uke Hotel. I was impressed with them at the show, so I picked up their album, Volume One. There’s no point in keeping you in suspense on this: I loved it.

So what’s it sound like? Well, I’ve described them as twee, and I still stand by that. They also have this chamber-pop thing going, with their violins, flutes, and glockenspiel, but they don’t really sound like other baroque-chamber-pop bands Belle and Sebastian or Camera Obscura. In fact, if I were comparing them to other bands, I would say they they sound a little like Magnetic Fields meets Peter, Paul, and Mary. Seriously, try to imagine that. That’s what this is.

My favorite songs are “4th Grade Book Report Blues,” “Lymph Nodes,” their cover of Nick Cave’s “the Weeping Song,” and the especially Magnetic Fields-esque “Every Time I Visit You, It Rains” (and they get bonus points from me for having a comma after the preposition there [/englishnerd]).

The packaging is pretty awesome here, too. The case is rectangular, as you can see above, and it looks like an old, leather book. Printed inside the case are a bookplate, a library check-out slip that brings me back to grade school, and pics of the band in their librarian garb. They’re really going out of their way to sell their image, and it works.

You can buy physical or digital copies of The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library’s Volume One directly from the band’s website.



1 Comment so far
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To me they sounded a lot like The New Pornographers. In fact I don’t really know how anyone who has heard The New Pornographers before not make that connection. It was the first thing that jumped out at me upon listening to them for the first time. Its as if they subtracted the guitars and added more orchestra sounds. The vocal harmonies are almost identical though and so are some other more minor details.

Comment by Stuie

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