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Knife & Fork 

Misery Cord

Wednesday, Sep 22 2004
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Comprised of singer Laurie Hall (Ovarian Trolley, Hallflowers) and keyboard/multi-instrumental whiz Eric Drew Feldman (who has played with or produced Sparklehorse, the Pixies, the Residents, etc.), Knife & Fork is the Bay Area's very own saturnine Sonny & Cher. Hall has an attractively distinctive, stately, and soulful voice with a plaintive vibrato -- imagine a cross betwixt the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser and PJ Harvey. Feldman contours Hall's tormented tapestries with a dense, virtually orchestral setting (almost Phil Spectorian, even) and chilly, inexorable rhythms. Setting them apart from (and above) their gloomy peers is the range and creative, restrained fervor of Hall's singing (note the gospel touches on "The Last Rites" and "Wild" and the queasy vocal overdubs decorating the martial-sounding "Fire") and the pair's use of "traditional" instrumentation (Carla Kilstedt's violin, Tim Mooney's drums, Terry Edwards' muted trumpet, the great Joe Gore's guitar). Aside from an overreliance on similarly measured tempos throughout, Misery Cord is the perfect item to keep one from getting too contented.

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Mark Keresman

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