March 06, 2004

Statistics "Leave Your Name"

Denver Dalley's a man who's spent the last year and a half standing at the foot of success. He's seen his good friend and bandmate Conor Oberst go from local buddy to Hollywood Celebrity practically overnight. (Yeah, I know, but come on, when you're in Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone, on all the late-night shows and have been seen with Winona Ryder, you're a celeb. Get over it.) Dalley's quietly observed Oberst's rise to fame, but he's also been lucky enough to see the other side of the coin, to see how it really affects people. Due to the rising success of Bright Eyes, Dalley's had a little extra time to focus on his own projects, as his band with Oberst, Desaparecidos, had to go on hiatus. Thus, Statistics was born.

Leave Your Name is an album in name only. It's a very brief affair, and it's not really a traditional album--of the eleven songs on the record, many of these tracks are nothing more than instrumental transitions between full-length songs. Though this might be seen as a lazy move, in Statistics' case, it's not, because these little clips form a really cohesive bond, making Leave Your Name less of an album as it is a scathing symphony slash song cycle about emo, celebrity and being a musician. He calls music journalists on the carpet ("Sing A Song"), talks about music technology ("Hours Seemed Like Days"), dealing with girls who don't really realize they're nothing more than groupies ("2 A.M.") and discusses the conflict between touring musician and having a normal lifestlye ("The Grass is Always Greener.") Soundwise, it travells from pretty instrumentals ("Circular Memories") to driving, radio-friendly indie-rock ("Sing a Song,") depressing atmospheric rock ("2 AM") and engaging piano movements ("Chairman of the Bored").

Leave Your Name is a really enjoyable and surprisingly solid affair. True, there may not be that much in the way of substance--it's too short to really offer that much--but when listened to as a whole, it's a really impressive, interesting and thought-provoking record. It may be brief, and it may not be particularly gossipy, but Leave Your Name is a most interesting snapshot about what a member of the overhyped Omaha scene happens to think about his life--and the life of those around him.

--Joseph Kyle

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