Friday, April 04, 2014

Split Single - Fragmented World

Jason Narducy formed and fronted Verbow in the mid-'90s, but he's since become better known as a sideman through playing bass and providing backing vocals for Liz Phair, Bob Mould, Robert Pollard, Superchunk and Telekinesis. He's back in the centre stage spotlight again now, however, with Split Single.

A guy who has a resume as impressive as Narducy's has probably met a lot of talented musicians over the years, and he invited two of them to join him in what started as a solo project. Narducy sings lead, plays guitar and keyboards, while Britt Daniel (Spoon, Divine Fits) plays bass and sings backing vocals and Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Mountain Goats, Mould, Pollard, Ben Gibbard) sits behind the drum kit.

They recorded Fragmented World's 10 songs in four days at Los Angeles' renowned Sound Factory with producer Ken Sluiter (Jerry Lee Lewis, Kelly Hogan, OK Go, The Mekons).

The album title is fitting since the music is somewhat fragmented in its diversity. The propulsive "Monolith," a short and to the point rocker, reflects Narducy's punk roots and comes closest to what I envisioned Split Single sounding like before I played the album. "Made For Breaking" is also short and punchy, while opener "Waiting for the Sun" and "Last Goodbye" are slower and more melancholy.

"Searches" features more prominent keyboards along with some '80s indie rock jangly guitar, while the sub-two-minute title track reaches back farther and is reminiscent of Big Star. "Never Look Back" and closing number "My Heart Is Your Shadow" update those power pop influences and round out an album that's not going to set the world on fire as the next big thing, but which illustrates the trio's terrific talents.

Split Single will perform at the record release party for Fragmented World on April 5 at Schubas in Chicago.

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