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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best album I've ever heard, 21 Nov. 2001
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This review is from: Whatever, Mortal (Audio CD)
...at least, that's what was going through my mind on first listen to Whatever, Mortal. Remember waiting for a follow up to Pavement's Slanted and Enchanted and being utterly disappointed with the straight laced country twang of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain? Well, ten years of patience has paid off, because this could be the most emotionally drenched and twisted sounding album to arrive in your record collection since that masterpiece. And it works in equally deadpan fashion.
So Pajo's voice isn't that great. Well, neither is Leonard Cohen's and this release often smacks of the great misery himself. A million miles away from the first, instrumental Papa M excursion, Pajo has finally come into his own, adding emotional essence through subtle vocal intonation (he doesn't have the range for anything more extreme) - and, believe your humble reviewer - it's an emotional trip. He can stretch one guitar chord out for a whole song and still keep you on the edge of your seat as you wait for other slight shifts in its progression.
The presence of Will Oldham on this record certainly hasn't done any harm. We might imagine Pajo to be wary about the identity of any song with an Oldham backing vocal, his is such a unique and instantly recognisable voice. But there is a humility in Oldham's delivery that not only adds to the beauty of the record but allows Pajo to retain his increasingly strong identity.
The packaging of the album is a bonus. A painting of Pajo and dog, with a background of Van Gogh yellow. Reminiscent, in effect, of the painting Joe Pesci's screen mother shows off to her wiseguy company in Goodfellas - good, but somehow sickeningly distasteful.
This is the album that will take Pajo from underground hero to indie rock/alt.country/prog rock god. It will possibly prompt some magazine to declare a new 'sound' or 'scene'. And it will certainly convince Dave Pajo to go x-directory.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He brought back the glory of Palace Brothers, 5 Feb. 2002
This review is from: Whatever, Mortal (Audio CD)
From Slint to Tortoise to Palace to Aerial M and post-rocker Papa M, Dave Pajo made all the critically acclaimed albums and here he is finallly come to an extend of hearing him sings.
Early 2001 he gave us some introduction by releasing "Papa M Sings" mini album. Now, "Whatever, Mortal" is the full length. Dave doesn't need an orchestra backing band or inviting Warren Ellis (Dirty Three) to play some meloncholie tune, all he need is a car key, dog tag and hard wood to created the most beautiful music ever.
Along with Will Oldham playing guitars and singing back vocals, they've brought back the glory of Palace Brothers. Started with a homecoming whore to the gold land sad song "Over Jordan" telling you about how she missed her family. Then with Britt Wallford (Slint drummer) playing the best track for the album "Beloved Women" make you feel like going back to 1989 the Slint era.
The beautifully instumental "Krusty" with child voices in the background and the car key, dog tag "The Loss of Roch Royal" already enough to proved that this man is extraordinary. It ended with the remake of his 1999 masterpiece "Live From The Shark Cage" track "Arundel", but this time he named it "Northwest Passage" because this is a totally different version from the last by added all kind of instrments like it started with acoustic guitars fade in harmonica then piano and the magical sounds of his electric guitars then keyboards and so on... You can never know that he could play a piano better than Elton John.
Once again this album have brought Papa M standing side by side with the great lo-fi hero Bonnie Prince Billy and Smog.
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