The Hard Parts
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The Hard Parts

Band Alternative Rock


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"Jordan Yaruss (lead of The Hard Parts) - The Circles"

Jordan Yaruss’ debut album, “The Circles” makes me think of geodesic domes; that was the first thought that came to mind when I plunged into this truly original terrain. And for those not up on geodesic domes, then the thumbnail recent history is that the late-visionary Buckminster Fuller thought our so-called modern, staid world could be given a healthy boost with this new kind of futuristic-looking architecture. And “The Circles” brings to mind the marriage of future-thinking and day-to-day living -- not a tenuous balance, but rather a peaceful coexistence. In other words, Yaruss steeps this disc in electronica, but by the same token it’s all tempered with the normal, grounded sounds of piano and Yaruss’ own guy-next-door voice.

Yaruss cites The Beta Band, Brian Wilson, The High Llamas, Kraftwerk, and Brian Eno as influences, which should intrigue discerning listeners well enough who are looking for a worthy listening experience. But the true observation that one should make, when taking all of those influences into account, is how Yaruss manages to suffuse the Old with the New -- so you’re just not listening to something derivative. Gifted artists are capable of presenting a Moment in their art (be it one song, one painting, etc.), and through their range, they’re able to suggest the possibility of an extended life or extended possibilities from that one piece. Take the meditative “Everything You Wish For...” in which Yaruss’s affirmations shift like the slow turn of a kaleidoscope -- slightly askew for a moment, but then recognizable again. Or take the humorous “Five Things” in which a vacationing narrator has left behind an instructive note for his house watcher. The note becomes ridiculously exhausting, but one can’t help but laugh at the plight of the poor house watcher who has to mind the specifications of the note. The deadpan intonations bring to mind They Might Be Giants, except Yaruss is far more endearing than those two fellows.

The stand-out track for me is “You’ll Never Know” which unabashedly stews together electronica, acoustic guitar, piano, plaintive vocals, and rich, spooky harmonies -- and let me emphasize that Yaruss is wonderfully adept at piling on these harmonies, so much so that I wish he’d placed more. It’s a heartbreaking tune that gives The Beatles’ “There’s A Place” and The Beach Boys’ “In My Room” a run for their money, just in terms of the outright manipulation of the guy-all-alone theme. I predict some forward-thinking indie film-maker will pick this song up and place it prominently in a soundtrack.

The possibilities of electronica and thinking persons’ pop have blossomed anew with this debut offering. Jordan Yaruss described the making of this disc as a long and almost arduous journey; one hopes that his next journey doesn’t take as long, for he’s sure to garner a quick following with this one.

4 out of 5

Review by John Lane - Ear Candy

"Sean O'Hagan on: Jordan Yaruss - The Circles"

"A gem of a record that is a joy to listen to. A real relaxer hopping through style changes and gear shifts with a healthy disrespect of what a marketed record should do or sound like... A great grasp of chord structure and harmony sadly lacking from so much contemporary music... Deserves the widest audience." - Sean O'Hagan of Stereolab and The High Llamas


The Hard Parts - The Hard Parts Pop Up, 10/06
Jordan Yaruss - The Circles, 8/04


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Hard Parts combines 60's rock n' roll, New Wave and Indie Rock into a delicious musical salad with your choice of dressing. Think The Kinks, The Talking Heads, Paul Simon, They Might Be Giants, Wilco, Brian Eno, Brian Wilson, The Beatles and The Postal Service and you're starting to get warm. Remove your sweater. You are less warm now, and thus more comfortable. The Hard Parts aims to create recordings and live performances that are fun, catchy and melodic, while still being heartfelt and unusual.