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El Prado - ARTS & CRAFTS
FILTER Grade: 79%

By Mischa Pearlman on March 7, 2014

 

NO

There are more than a few moments on this debut album from LA’s NO where singer Bradley Hanan Carter sounds exactly like The National’s Matt Berninger—the sad way he slurs his words in “Stay With Me,” for example, or the lament that is “Another Life.” There are others, namely opener “Leave the Door Wide Open” and “Monday,” where his voice takes on the tremulous tone of Interpol’s Paul Banks. At times, most notably on “North Star,” it’s an eerie combination of the two. Yet while these comparisons could be detrimental—offering up an unconvincing, watered-down version of those acts— where El Prado’s 13 songs succeed is by referencing them and then moving on, filling in the gaps with the band’s own personality, and their own sense of mystery and intrigue. It does mean this record will never exist on its own terms, but as comparisons go, they could be much worse.

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