Mary Lorson & Saint Low 

Tricks for Dawn

Return with us now to those thrilling daze of yesteryear, to that phenomenon known as "college rock." In the '80s, college radio wasn't just for youth anymore. It was a vital avenue of exposure for bands not pretty enough, not mainstream enough (at least yet), or not "dinosaur" enough for most FM radio play, but were too "professional" for the underground/indie/punk networks. Bands like the Reivers, Camper Van Beethoven, All About Eve, Miracle Legion, and Madder Rose all made their melodic mark in this genre, but many faded after graduation. But hey, there's always grad school. That's where Madder Rose singer Mary Lorson's new band Saint Low comes in. Lorson has a genuinely pretty voice, not unlike Aimee Mann's -- straightforward and unadorned by any vocal gyrations, quirks, or histrionics. In Tricks for Dawn the prevailing mood is sober; one of bittersweet farewells to the cavalier ways of youth. The songs are sparse and introspective, driven by tinkling piano, strummed acoustic guitar, restrained drumming, and evocative, baroque-flavored strings and brass à la Left Banke. The only quibble would be the absence of any uptempo, cathartic songs; guest star Evan Dando's quietly impassioned distorted electric guitar solo on "Long Way Down" is about as bouncy as this set gets. But if it's a rainy, fog-shrouded day and you're curled up on the couch feeling a touch of melancholy, Tricks for Dawn would make for a nice aural companion.

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