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February 25, 2010
By Joseph Chapman

4 of 5 stars

Music Review: Saint Solitude

"...pop masterpieces...virtuosic instrumentalism and masterful composition..."

Sometimes it’s hard to get between a man and his loop pedal. Saint Solitude is the project of Dup Crosson, a one-man band that sounds more like a five-piece than the result of a homey recording session in Asheville.

The idea of one person multitracking an entire LP is ambitious but usually results in nothing more than a dissatisfying gimmick. The shock value of one man mastering a multitude of sounds is what propelled seminal multi-instrumentalists like Mike Oldfield – the composition was an afterthought.

Saint Solitude puts music first – there are no gimmicks to be found in Journal of Retreat. If it weren’t for the cheesy moniker and liner notes, the listener would probably never know that Saint Solitude was just one guy.

The album is unexpectedly anthemic. Mixing mellow guitars, fuzzy bass and vocal harmonies, Crosson uses poignant chord progressions as his foundation. As the chorus approaches on “Let’s Try It,” a song that embodies life without regrets, the listener will be hard-pressed not to join in with the hymn-like procession.

“Dream States” is a not-so-subtle nod to one of Crosson’s more obvious influences — R.E.M. Subtlety might not be one of Crosson’s strong points (see: the name ‘Saint Solitude’), but what he lacks in restraint he makes up for with his pop masterpieces.

This album is a testament to the diversity a three-chord pop song can have. Crosson has taken formula combined with virtuosic instrumentalism and masterful composition to break through the self-importance of your usual one-man band.

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