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MP3 The Visible Men - Love:30

Reminiscent of Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, and XTC...A cross between ELO & NoMeansNo .

10 MP3 Songs
POP: Piano, POP: Quirky


The newest recording by The Visible Men, Love:30, is a testament to the band''s spirit of collaboration and their willingness to grow and develop as artists. The record is full of beautifully tense and well-crafted songs, and Dustin Lanker''s haunting piano melodies are woven together with Dan Schmid''s rich bass lines in a way that is reminiscent of Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, and XTC: A tableau of songs combining psychedelia, British new wave and emo.

Dustin Lanker began playing piano as a toddler, developing over his formative years into a talented singer/songwriter. Since then, he has been an invaluable contributor to the Eugene, Oregon music scene: He has been the pianist for the multi-platinum-band The Cherry Poppin'' Daddies, local favorites The Burning Members and 100% Chips as well as lending his performances to recordings by Yeltsin and Tom Heinl. He also spent three weeks in Europe playing shows with The Specials, England''s founding fathers of ska.

Bassist Dan Schmid is a stalwart figure who has kept the indie scene alive in Eugene for the past twenty years, and his dynamic style of play has inspired young people to pick up their instrument and get onstage. Schmid is a founding member of The Cherry Poppin'' Daddies and a key player in the band''s smashing success. He has also performed with alt-rockers Snakepit and most recently the tango sensation Mood Area 52.

The Visible Men''s drummer Jordan Glenn, a formally-trained percussionist, is a formidable innovator on his kit, constantly improvising his drum schemes in a quiet and humble way each and every show. He has been involved in musical ventures ranging from Deke Falcon(alt-country), Dan Jones and the Squids(folk rock), and Scrambled Ape(klezmer). Glenn also writes scores for his own projects as well as existing silent films.

Love: 30 is a tribute to these multi-talented musicians working together as a finely honed unit. Since their first album, In Socks Mode, the intensity of their songwriting has increased. "Its funny because it came so seamlessly," Dan Schmid says, "It was an organic thing that just sprung out of all of our minds."

"In Socks Mode was way more minimalist and frankly piano-based," Dustin Lanker says, "We started recording this album right on the heels of the first album so we instantly knew that we wanted something different and we wanted to grow. We approached it looking for interesting sounds and arrangements that were more cinematic and psychedelic."

The album''s title, Love: 30, has many meanings beyond a tennis score where someone is falling behind their opponent. "Love:30 is being half past love. Love:30 is romance as the age of thirty approaches," says Lanker.

"To me, the title is coupled with an image like a lot of ideas," Schmid says,, "That image being a man at a sad café by himself waiting for his date. She''s a half hour late."

The album probes the blurry margins of love and relationships - - yearning for past loves, changing yourself for your partner, waiting too long to committ - - and blends it with the joy of being alive. In a song like "Animal," which looks at the inner workings of jealousy through the omnipresent photo of an ex-boyfriend, the heaviness is undercut by the whimsy of the melody and the hurly burly of the instrumentation, bringing to mind Elvis Costello & the Attractions'' early love songs. In the chorus, Lanker sings, "You don''t long for a bygone paramour, you say he''s just an animal / Just a picture, he''s not a fixture, but I bet he''s an animal."

The song''s power is further indicaton of the The Visible Men''s chemistry. "The thing that makes this group different than a lot of other groups is that I come in with a song that''s sometimes fairly finished, but in arranging we try the songs in a variety of ways until it starts to develop a unique character of its own," Lanker says, "There''s a lot of people making their creative statements back and forth."

"In Formation" is another relationship song that tackles the precarious combination of excessive thinking and love. "That song is about romance but its also about getting older and encountering situations where things aren''t so clear cut," Lanker says, "There''s information coming at you and you don''t know what to make of it... relationships aren''t ending with screaming and yelling anymore its ending because of really abstract stuff like future plans and all this other scary stuff that''s just unanswerable question marks."

In the last verse of "In Formation," the narrator realizes that the wrong decisions have been made even after all that information, "Now I''ve discovered the love of my life was someone I met a few years ago / I think we could have been happy but I waited and now its most likely I''ll never know."

A standout track on Love:30 is the simple yet complex song "Toilet Show." The form of the song runs through only three times, once with lyrics. But the recording contains mixed together multi-layered instrumentation - - produced by Scott Mclean and Bill Barnett in the studio - - evocative of Brian Eno''s Another Green World while Lanker sings, "I am a sour note that gets caught in your throat."

"That''s my favorite song on the record," Schmid says, "It''s a song about a person with [alcohol] dissipation...its totally stirring because its so full of such amazing imagery of coughs, of puffs of smoke, of clouds disappearing. It''s real reminiscent of the lyric to the Django Reinhardt song ''Nuages.''"

A fan favorite is "Pinocchio" where the narrator states the endearing chorus, "I wanna be a real boy." Lanker understands the audiences fascination with the fairy tale and the song. "Pinocchio really wants to fit in. He wants to have that moment of feeling like he belongs in the world like everybody wants. My sympathizing with that part of the story is what made that song happen," Lanker says.

What''s happening in the year to come for The Visible Men? Lanker, Schmid and Glenn are out of the studio, ready to share Love:30 with their listeners, embarking on a heavy touring schedule throughout the United States...so check your local listings.

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