Much like Cynthia Dall or Sarabeth Tucek to Smog's Bill Callahan, Yury's voice has a sensual, sometimes-smoky and seductive quality that simply invites listeners to pay attention, whether it's on the incredible album-opening pseudo-ballad "Twofer," the playful All Most Heaven pop-rock of "Metastatic," the folky melancholy of "Stain," or the more percussive rumble of "Jar." That's not to say she's not surrounded by sterling performances from her backing band. Schuler's drumming is muted but inventive and perfectly suited to tracks like "Twofer," whose chorus packs an emotional punch that it wouldn't sans percussion. Gagon, who produced the disc, offers piano and keys that add a bluesiness to songs like "Warden," backed by Paul Oldham's almost restrained, carefully placed bass notes. Will Oldham, who sings and handles the guitar duties on Mutter, does some of his best supporting work of recent years on the disc, lending his trademark emotive voice to the proceedings while still refraining from taking the spotlight. Lyrically, Yury also strays from the tones of her LA Design Center exhibition, crafting songs that seem to reflect on the comforts of home but, more importantly, seem to play with the conventions of love songs by translating their tropes into literal-minded scenarios.
In "Twofer," a heart breaks — somewhat literally — as Yury and Oldham sing in the achingly sweet chorus, "You can't break a heart / Into two / Halves / And expect it to go on / Like before." The balance of the song, all piano, bass, and thumping drums, deals with the blatant duality of romantic longing and loss, leaning on images of two hearts combining into one, merged intersections and romantic births. On "Jar," which begins with a driving "Sweet Home Alabama" bass-and-drums descent, Yury continues the literal but emotive readings, singing about heartache, "Heart in a jar / Funny, bloody thing / Somebody is missing you tonight / How could they have lost you? / It's damn near impossible / To survive / In a jar." It's a song that points out the strange and almost sado-masochistic imagery of the concept of "heartbreak," yes, but it still manages to tap into all the soreness and familiar sting of the subject. It's that human element that distances Yury's downright incredible work on Mutter from the engaging but clean-cut designs of her LA Design Center show and also makes the disc one of the sleeper successes of the year. Take note now: find this record. - Justin Vellucci, 8/31/05 Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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