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Dark Side of the Cop

Dark Side of the Cop (Auger Down)

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File Dark Side of the Cop alongside Electric President's eponymous debut and Dave Pajo's Pajo; all three share a folktronica bent and an air of bittersweet, understated resignation and exhausted regret best absorbed alone, and are album-length gestures that come across as grand, musical sighs. More smoothly palatable than those other two acts, Dark Side of the Cop combines the considerable talents of vocalist Tyler Gibbons -- who sings like Kyle Field (Little Wings) with better range and a passion for '70s soft rock -- and multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Marco Panella, a pop craftsman with an incredible lightness (not to mention uncanny rightness) of compositional touch. "What is the trick to not feeling lonely?/You just pretend not to care," Gibbons purrs on "Paradise Lost and Found," as whimpering, distant keyboards are eventually joined by pianos, strummed acoustic stammering, and all manner of tastefully introduced electronic geegaws.

An account of a youthful encounter with a prostitute, "Childhood" is particularly Pajoesque: scuff 'n' swipe, programmed percussion sweeping along tender guitar scales and their corresponding bass equivalents, as Gibbons sings, "Words travel quickly/When you're only 18/Friends and neighbors laughin', sayin', 'Who's the bitch, now?'" while synthesizers expand, contract, and sizzle.

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