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Suburban Hymns

Life and Times, Suburban Hymns, Life And TimesVinyl
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 10 Songs, 2005 $8.99  
Audio CD, Import, 2005 $38.11  
Vinyl, 2011 --  

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Product Details

  • Vinyl (November 22, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cobraside
  • ASIN: B006OAB3X8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #928,126 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Tracks: 01.My Last Hostage 02.Coat Of Arms 03.Charlotte St. 04.Muscle Cars 05.Skateland 06.Thrill Ride 07.Running Red Lights 08.Shift Your Gaze 09.Mea Culpa 10.A Chorus Of Crickets.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars slow burning fire that renovates the earth September 25, 2005
Format:Audio CD
what a slow burn this baby is...but man it's igniting something grand. this album tricked me. it made me think i didnt like it that much at first. but then, i m an idiot sometimes. most good things in life are have a value that transcends first impressions...sometimes things are so good they take a few minutes to change your tunnel-vision mindset and open your brain to something wonderful. this is one of those things.

i am a GIANT shiner fan and i loved the first LaT EP. the first thing i thought about this album is "too grown up, too happy." but 1: growing up can still be a good thing and 2: is there such a thing as 'too happy?'

the point is this album is full of super-subtle hooks that are like a virus...they get inside you and when you least expect it, you'll be stuck at working thinking you need to hear "Charlotte St." the same way a smoker needs nicotine.

the song construction...the melodies...the whole's not shiner. it's not old's not ANYTHING i've ever heard. so very different and so very majestic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it's a good one August 2, 2006
Format:Audio CD
I never get tired of this one. There isn't a single weak component. The bass guitar, vocals, and songwriting are great, and the drumming is outstanding. It's called "suburban hyms" but manages to not be bubbly major key pop about highschool or unlistenable emo-ish garbage about ex-girlfriends. It's solid rock 'n roll so there is none of the plodding slow droning to common in "indie" type stuff, but it has enough of an indie touch to keep the songs from sounding typical at all. The singer passes my standard test of singing in his own voice. He doesn't sound like he's trying to imitate anyone which for some reason is not the norm.

I like it better than the singer's old band "Shiner" because it seems a little smoother and more polished to me. I really don't see how anyone could really dislike this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately a step forward September 23, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I was not a little worried when I discovered the new band name and a few track titles that had risen from the ashes of the mighty Shiner--to be honest, they smacked of emo pandering. Conor Oberst is (thankfully) nowhere to be found in this midwestern rock band, so why "Skateland?" Were the dark, abstract poems and sledgehammer riffs of K.C.'s finest to be replaced with warbling ballads about lost childhood toys and such? I figured hey, it's Alan Epley, so it'll at least be worth a few spins for the voice alone.

Track one sets a good level of expectation with the moony, Kevin Shields-esque lead and some well produced vocals, and it segues nicely into a decent uptempo/sad "Coat Of Arms." So far, nothing bad, but nothing great. "Charlotte Street," however, had me worried--pretty directionless speed and heat without a center, and basically lapses into the rare (but real) territory a Shiner song or two did, wherein Jeffrey Jones' criticism in Amadeus ("too many notes!") holds true. Where was the band going? Had the ravages of time finally catching up with our alt-rock superhero's skills?

Fortunately, Epley laughs kindly in my doubting face, turns around and knocks the next 6 tracks out of the park like a pre-drug test era MLB star. I would argue that they stand as some of his best tunes. "Muscle Cars" is built around a simple, catchy and heartbreaking riff; the aforementioned "Skateland" is a great bass riff building to a triumph/tragedy chorus and going out sounding like "Unforgettable Fire" B-side heaven; "Thrill Ride" is a flat-out gorgeous and haunting showcase for this woefully underrated singer's skills.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rock And Roll Impressionism August 15, 2005
Format:Audio CD
This sparsely-worded soundtrack to Allen Epley's view of suburbia is beautiful and compelling in a car-crash sort of way, made even stranger by the fact that (as alluded to in 'Mea Culpa') we are all a part of the landscape AE is describing - "come outside and take a look at what's in there where you just were!", basically. Lyrically, this is word economy at its finest and most effective.

Musically, I'll say this: Normally I'm not impressed when bands blatantly wear their musical influences on their sleeve, but that's due to those bands not having anything of their own to say. The Life And Times is definitely NOT in that mold! While it's easy to hear Radiohead's influence (particularly in the opening track, think "Airbag" from OK Computer), as well as War-era U2 on "Coat of Arms" (think "Two Hearts Beat As One"), that to me simply says that the guys liked those particular sounds and thought them best for their respective songs - and made that a point of departure for their own musical statement. (And both those songs work very well indeed, by the way.)

One nitpick, though: After having listened to the cleaner "demo" version of "Shift Your Gaze" pre-release, the overly-murky production of that number as it appears on this CD made me hold back on that 5th star. I think it was a shame to muddle the lyrics, and overall sound, of what could have been more of a figurative momentary break in the clouds.

Still, what a piece of work this is - !!! Fantastic work, gentlemen.
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