Saturday, March 29, 2014

FIRST IMPRESSION: Split Single - Fragmented World

Split Single is Jason Narducy.  If you don’t recognize that name, you most assuredly know some of the artists he has worked with: Bob Mould, Bob Pollard, Superchunk, and countless other indie rock stalwarts have relied on Narducy’s melodic bass-work and heavenly harmonies.  You may also remember him from 90’s noiseniks Verbow, the band he fronted for the better part of a decade before calling it quits.  Doesn't ring a bell?  Well, school’s in and all you need to know is that Split Single is far and away the best thing that Narducy has done.  “Fragmented World” is a subtle, well-written tour-de-force that is “Midwestern” in the best sense of the word: deceptively melodic, rocking without being workmanlike, and unabashedly proud of its influences.  Simply put it is music that oozes heart. 

Ranging in scope and style from the string-assisted melancholy of first single “Last Goodbye” (whether the echo of Jeff Buckley is intentional or not is entirely up for debate) to the punk-indebted “Monolith”, the album makes more than enough room for stops at “White Album”-esque raga (“Love Is You”) and pure power pop (the title track). Narducy sings his goddamn heart out and the energy provided by powerhouse drummer (and longtime compatriot) Jon Wurster and Spoon's Britt Daniel on bass propels these songs to hit the exact mark their author intends. Closer “My Heart Is Your Shadow” is the perfect summation of everything that has come before – ebulliently poppy with a catch-in-your-throat vocal melody and extra guitar snarl in the choruses.   A damn fine step back into the spotlight for a guy whose talent has spent too long in the shadow of other estimable artists. 

P.S.  Check out my conversation with Jason coming later this week!  

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