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July 12, 2005

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There's something that strikes me about Statistics.

No, not the math, the band. I hate math, but this band kicks ass.

That the band's newest endeavor is titled Often Lie is a mere bonus. Statistics is Denver Dalley, a Tennessee/Omaha veteran of the band Desaparecidos, and his work is simply striking.

He has shown great leaps and bounds since his last release, Leave Your Name, where his vocals were meek and nervous, and the album was full of intricate instrumentals. Often Lie departs from his previous efforts, which featured more instrumentals, but that style isn't absent. Instead, he builds on his ability to write instrumental songs and completes them with brooding lyrics.

He borrows from other artists (namely Rilo Kiley - Dalley's "Say You Will" resembles Kiley's "Portions for Foxes" faintly), and he puts his own touch on the tracks.

Dalley's strength will always lie in his live performances, and I'd be willing to bet that the performances of the songs on Often Lie will solidify them as quality pieces. When Desaparecidos (in which Dalley played guitar) was around, he was bouncing around the stage, seriously rocking out, and even though Statistics' material is less intense, his stage presence remains strong. His new-found confidence will only make his live performances better.

Often Lie is quick and full of complex lead and backup guitars that work well. Standout tracks include "Final Broadcast" and "At the End," although Dalley's lyrics fall a bit short through most of the album. His words are simple, and the messages are clear, which can either be a strength or a weakness, depending on your expectations.

The only instrumental that shows up on the album, "10/22," closes out a true-to-style Statistics record with more than five minutes of swells, ebbs, and crescendos.

Often Lie is a quality album, far better than previous solo work by Dalley, and it demonstrates that his style and confidence as a frontman are slowly growing and blossoming. With a few more records, he will find his niche, and then Statistics will shine on- and offstage.

The Daily Iowan

Layne Gabriel