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Pale Boy
(Kale Music)

Pale Boy is basically the name of a collective of musicians, all brought together under ringleaders Seth Geltman and Thomas Blomster. After a childhood friendship, the two drifted apart, but ran into each other again after 20 years and realized they still both had a passion for music (Blomster has started a small chamber group while Geltman had composed music for small films and educational videos). They decided to collaborate on a musical project together and the 18-track album slowly came together.

It's obvious that the disc is a labor of love for those involved, as there was not only a long road of getting the disc funded (through the combination of a BEAM grant and insurance payment on a totaled car, things finally came together), but rounding up all the very solid musicians that appear on the recording couldn't have been that easy either. At any rate, the music on the disc is sort of an adult contemporary version of Belle and Sebastian or the late 4AD-esque band Shellyan Orphan. As mentioned before, there are a lot of people who played and/or sang on this release, and a partial listing of instruments reveals everything from a wide variety of horns (tuba, french horn, trumpet, flugelhorn) to various percussion (marimba, vibes) and stringed instruments like violin in addition to the more standard guitar/drum/bass combination. The songs are pretty and very well executed, but if you're looking for any sort of edge, you may want to look elsewhere.

The album starts out with the catchy and rather jaunty sounding "Just A Thought" with two-part male/female vocals between Geltman and another singer before some Spanish-sounding guitar weaves it's way through the second track "Shy Beast." The instrumentation on the album is fairly varied and interesting, although everything is always so precision that I can't help but wish there were a bit of a ragged edge or dissonance somewhere, just to break in through the twee. The vocals themselves will probably be a source of issue with some people, because although they're light enough to fit with the music, sometimes they seem to get in the way of the solid instrumentation. That point is made even more clearly on the two very pretty instrumental tracks ("Chance Of Showers" and "Chloe"), one of which sounds like nice, moody modern chamber music, while the latter exudes an almost cocktail lounge feel.

If you like your music cool and breezy, perhaps best listened to on a Sunday morning when anything too abrasive just won't do, this might be your bag. The release not only has a touch of the indie bands mentioned above, but also sort of sounds influenced by quieter bands from the 60s and 70s, and it's so unobtrusive that your parents would probably like it as well.

Rating: 6