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Arts and Entertainment

CD Review: Foreign Born's "On The Wing Now:

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Artist: Foreign Born
Album: On The Wing Now
Label: Dim Mak
Release Date: 8/21/07

Listen to the track "Letter of Inclusion"

While all of Foreign Born's members may not be native sons of LA, they are emissaries of a Silver Lake music scene with their own, almost classic, West Coast flavor. "Almost classic" because the era of the Beach Boys, and the Mamas and the Poppas (and to a lesser extent the Eagles) is now so ancient that it is frequently interpreted and emulated in sacrosanct worship. Foreign Born take what they need from this sound, and do their own thing: walls of drums with cascading and flourishing cymbals, a vigorously strummed acoustic guitar, and even the sound of sleigh bells way off in the distance.

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With these ingredients, singer-vocalist Matt Popieluch's slightly nasal voice could easily be applied to a surf song or two and they'd be set but the introspective nature of the lyrics set Foreign Born a few clicks away from indie pop aspirations. Lead guitarist Lewis Pesacov's sound does have a shoe-gazey feel to it but the drumming and other layers of rhythm (bells, hand claps, tambourines, etc.) are too uppity for any wallowing to be allowed.

Popieluch's vocals and the production style that was used made me think of Echo and the Bunnymen (a good thing) but comparisons to bands like the Stone Roses and the Velvet Underground (in particular) fall flat. Even if you aren't a card-carrying member of the LA indie music scene, you may have seen Foreign Born performing in the premiere episode of NBC's goofy spy series, Chuck. Foreign Born has been busy touring in support of On The Wing Now but already has enough songs lined up for a 2008 release so look for more of them in the new year.

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