Best CD by Local Musicians (2006)

This Is Where the Story Ends, Scattered Pages

Exquisite melancholy is a difficult emotion to capture on disc -- most bands that strive for it end up sounding either whiny or pretentious. Scattered Pages is not most bands. The newest of their three EPs -- 2006's This Is Where the Story Ends -- picks up where Neil Young's Harvest left off: gently strummed acoustic guitars awash in pedal steel atop brushed-snare hits and vocals softly sung. These guys are starting to get lots of comparisons to fellow Smiths/Morrissey devotees the Decemberists, but we would argue that the locals are better, and not just 'cause they're locals. Singer Brandon Hancock's voice isn't as grating as that of Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, and the Scattered Pages' arrangements retain your interest longer. Who knew Baytown -- all three members hail from there -- could produce such sigh-inducing beauty?

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