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Queue For Love


hether they’re formally called introductions or not, the brief tracks that are often used to kick-start albums are usually beneath notice. Some perfunctory strings there, a little bragging here, maybe some peaceful ambience to offset what’s coming, and you’re set.

Rarely and wonderfully enough, Andrea Mangia’ second album for Morr as Populous features an introductory track, “The Breakfast Drama,” that may be the best song on the album (and not in a the-rest-of-the-album-sucks kind of way, either). It’s a bit too indebted, knowingly or not, to I Am Robot And Proud circa The Catch, all soft tinkling and finger snaps interweaving like late morning summer sunshine drifting through your bedroom window.

The rest of the record is slightly less charming, but only slightly. Dose One shows up for “My Winter Vacation,” which uses him well for two minutes but lasts twice as long, and Matilde Davoli of Studio Davoli lends her voice to two tracks. Mangia doesn’t make much of her on “Bunco,” where she sounds like a more sensual Nico, fading her out after a fraction of the song. But “Clap Like Breeze” makes her sound like she’s fronting a decent shoegaze band, only over softly burbling textures instead, which works better than it might sound.

The rest of the album is left up to Mangia’s voice as a producer, and he doesn’t waste the opportunity. The strongest stretch is nestled between the two Davoli tracks, with Mangia exploring all the ways various strains of laptop pop can be paired with a vaguely hip-hop beat. The sound is varied, with some songs seemingly existing mostly as preludes, like “Sundae Pitch,” for more fully-fledged efforts like the slowly revolving “The Dixie Saga.” Mangia even manages to use the much-abused acoustic guitar effectively on many of the songs, especially “Canoe Canoa.” Sometimes the titles give a little too much away (can you guess what “Dance-Hall Nostalgia” and “Hip-Hop Cocette” sound like?), but he keeps up the light, festive feel throughout and the result is a slim but engaging album.

Refreshing and enjoyable if a little inconsequential, Queue For Love entertains while it’s on but tends to evaporate from memory afterwards. The stronger songs like the funk-tinged “Drop City,” “The Breakfast Drama,” “Clap Like Breeze,” and the strutting “Pawn Shop Close”—they’re just begging to be dropped into a mix somewhere. But clumped together they tend to dilute each other; odds are Mangia has better work in him, but for now the high points of this breezily fun record are more than enough.

Reviewed by: Ian Mathers

Reviewed on: 2005-04-26

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