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June 17, 2003

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Yet another member of the Saddle Creek family has found label support outside of Omaha. These people are starting to leave that close-knit family of 20-something Midwesterners in three's. There was Joel Petersen of the Faint who broke away with his Broken Spindles last year. Then earlier this year Mayday went East for label support and recorded an album for Bar/None. Now, Denver Dalley, founder/main songwriter, and guitarist of the acclaimed-as-all-sin, Desaparecidos, which he co-fronted with Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst has found life outside of Saddle Creek, taking with him a mindful of ideas and a knack for crafting the pop.

Enter Statistics, a project which finds Dalley carrying on what he did best in Desaparecidos - writing catchy-as-fuck, introspective as all hell poppy rock songs. But, please, whatever you do, do not go into Statistics self-titled debut thinking you'll get what Desaparecidos unleashed on the masses last year. There's no post-9/11 lyricism going on here, or threats of burning down the recent housing development; hell, there's hardly a hint of anger. Well, maybe a hint of depression and regret, but give the guy a break, he is from Omaha. So, what can you expect on Statistics entry into the indie rock world? How about five tracks of seemingly uncontestable electro-pop splendor? Yes, that works just fine, thanks.

Now, this EP needs to be listened to from start to finish to really grasp what Dalley is trying to convey - no, there's not a concept here, just a very powerful flow that begs to be experienced. Think start/stop, start/stop, if that makes any sense at all.

Wasting no time, Dalley jumps into a bath of fuzz-filled undertones, slinky guitar parts, and shockingly beautiful vocal harmonies on the opener, 'Another Day.' It's one of those tracks that you might want to throw on as a campfire gets lit and the 12 pack of beer sits patiently next to you waiting to be consumed. Yep, it's bound to be a good night. As the pounding backbeat carries the track into its final chorus, it's now time for the artsiness of Statistics to truly come out - and here's where the electronics really swamp the speakers. It's time to relax and let the fuzz guide the mind for a bit - not too long though - just long enough.

If you need more pop, Dalley waves the checkered flag with 'Hour Seemed Like Days' - a track that takes a trip through Dalley's ramifications of growing up, the evolution of music and movie production, and even a mention of Claymation. 'Let's just press rewind,' he thoughtfully exasperates as the track dissolves into yet another abyss of fuzz. You almost have to agree with him, really. The final two cuts on the EP serve as ideal closures to this tease into Dalley's solo life style - presenting more haunting, spaced-out electronics and muddled vocals.

Ideally, this EP will serve as something to remember from this already persistent year in rock music. Perhaps, even more ideally, this EP will only be a start to what will be an even more memorable career for Denver Dalley - timing is on his side. It really is hard not to indulge in Statistics.

30 Music