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August 19, 2005

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Often Lie is the second full-length from Omaha's one-man wonderband, Statistics. For the unfamiliar, Statistics is the brainchild of former Desaparecidos member, Denver Dalley. Though he enlisted the help of extra musicians on the album, Dalley pulls the whole thing off onstage by himself with the help of a laptop. Clocking in at barely over half an hour, Often Lie is a nice collection of incredibly poppy, loud guitar-driven songs. Nothing too hard to swallow here. And that's not necessarily a bad thing in this case, as Dalley's lyrics are clever enough – within each song and contextually as an album – to keep fans of this style hooked.

Wonderfully recorded by A.J. Mogis, the album starts off with "Final Broadcast," which tells of a college radio programmer's last night on the air. Within the first 10 seconds, the song bursts with huge guitars leading into a chorus that would sound completely at home on a major radio station. Make no mistake: this is poppy stuff. It's very accessible and melodic in a style that many have abandoned as of late.

But Often Lie isn't just another meat-and-potatoes pop record. The electronic elements prevalent on Statistics' debut Leave Your Name are still present but to a lesser extent. The album's centerpiece, "By(e) Now" (also the strongest track), alternates between an organic-sounding band and a electronic-EQ-manipulated wash. "Nobody Knows Your Name" climaxes with a harsh hiss that crescendos right into the track's abrupt end. The tricks are subtle but effective enough to keep the songs from being too formulaic.

This is a nice album and a refreshing reminder that simple doesn't have to be boring.

Transform Online

Jason Smith