CD How I Learned to Write Backwards (CD 1089556),
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How I Learned to Write Backwards

  • 1. Catherine Says
    2. Emotional Levy
    3. Languor in the Balcony
    4. Mission Bells
    5. Sara's Song
    6. Attraction Action Reaction
    7. Through the Swells
    8. Train #1, The
    9. Train #2, The
    10. Unfinished Paintings
    11. Melody Not Malaise
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 25

  • Credits

    Aislers Set: Amy Linton (vocals, guitar); Wyatt Cusick (guitar); Alicia Vanden Hueval (bass); Yoshi Nakamoto (drums).
    Recording information: Amy's Garage (2002).
    Unknown Contributor Roles: Amy Linton; Yoshi Nakamoto; Alicia Vanden Heuvel; Gary Olson ; Wyatt Cusick; Jen Cohen; Dan Lee.
    San Francisco-based popsters Aislers Set returned with the follow-up to 2000's The Last Match with How I Learned to Write Backwards, co-released on Suicide Squeeze and Slumberland Records. The disc was a significant departure from the band's previous works, marking a new approach to songwriting by the group's leader, singer Amy Linton. Fortunately for the band's fans, her signature voice and the band's uncanny knack for creating uniquely catchy pop hooks remained. The Motown flare of the opener, "Catherine Says," hints that the album was not going to be more of the same from the group. While bands often rest on their laurels, Aislers Set seemed determined to once again push their proverbial artistic envelope. "Emotional Lack" includes a unique ending, with the band relying on a cappella vocals, only accompanied by handclaps and Yoshi Nakamoto's brief, steady drumming. The disc really hits its stride with "Languor in the Balcony" and "Mission Bells," as the quintet shows off both its post-punk and pop sensibilities. Linton's vocals alternate between the hushed "Sara's Song" and the graceful "Through the Swells," always maintaining a subtle coyness. The band's most ambitious instrumentation is easily the pairing of "The Train #1" and "The Train #2," a meticulous and fiery set of precisely executed arrangements. Yet again, the pace falls after the frantic "The Train #2," this time with the serene "Unfinished Paintings." Aislers Set succeed yet again by the simple fact that there's no other band crafting a similar sound, not even remotely. Their signature sound is a result of Linton's musical vision, along with the refreshing input from bassist Alicia Vanden Heuvel and guitarist Wyatt Cusick. Jen Cohen adds a wealth of sounds on keyboards. "Was Either Easier" marks the orchestral ending to How I Learned to Write Backwards. The disc was recorded during 2002 at Linton's home studio and was released in February 2003. ~ Stephen Cramer

  • Critic Reviews
    Uncut (5/03, p.108) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Heart-lifting bedroom-casualty pop....There's real poeticised emoting here, and great tunes..."
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