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Moviola

Rumors of the Faithful (Spirit of Orr)

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Moviola's Rumors of the Faithful is, at best, a competent recording of light, poppy songs with no pretensions. At worst, it's a recording stuck on a creative plateau. The album features '60s pop with rustic sensibilities and a love for acoustic instruments. But this diverse palette never finds the right blend, resulting in a few lazy elements with no sense of direction -- imagine Van Morrison on Prozac. Though Scotty Tabachnick, Jake Housh, Ted Hattemer, Jerry Dannemiller, and Greg Bonnell -- all of whom switch instruments and share vocal duties -- post pensive mugs in the liner-note photos, they seem content to never dig too deep. Instead, they opt for canned images and corny sentiments.

Most of the 12 songs, which average about four minutes, cover the familiar terrain of relationships, but the tunes fail to engage the listener. Though band members sometimes produce well-constructed vocal harmonies, the singing is oppressively monotonous. Each vocalist sounds like Matthew Sweet stripped of sincerity. The music follows an equally monotonous path, relying on safe, bouncy verses followed by infectious choruses. "October Leaves," the album's ninth track, is the exception. It stands out because it layers lush guitars over a laid-back groove that builds steadily toward the verse. In other sections of the song, a pedal steel guitar adds texture, and horns provide a brassy push. Otherwise, this is a consistently average and ultimately forgettable album.

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