The Extra Lens, 'Undercard' (Merge)

7
Undercard
Critical Mass
Release Date: October 19, 2010
Label: Merge

by Jon Young

Nearly a decade after their debut album as the Extra Glenns, John Darnielle (Mountain Goats) and Franklin Bruno (Nothing Painted Blue) reunite for a collaboration that sounds like it was recorded on a whim. But the spontaneous vibe seems fitting, with Darnielle's ordinary-guy vocals, embellished by Bruno's subtle guitars and keyboards, giving their observant tales of sexual misconduct ("How I Left the Ministry") and weary struggle ("Cruiserweights") the punch of vivid short stories. For bleaker beauty, catch the haunting take on Randy Newman's "In Germany Before the War."

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