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Sunday, July 25, 2004

LISTENING POST

RECORDED

Little Wings: "Magic Wand"

By Philip Brasor

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Portland, Ore.-based singer-songwriter Kyle Field, who performs under the alias Little Wings, initially comes across as one of those new folkies, like Will Oldham and M. Ward, who appropriate old-fashioned religious imagery for purely dramatic purposes. However, with his fragile, druggy voice and gentle, major-key melodies Field is antidramatic.

He's childlike, and on his fifth album the spiritual component has an innocent wonder to it. "No one feels the day go through exactly the way I do," he sings languorously, "That's what makes me me, and you you." Field's internal rhymes are hypnotic, focusing attention on the weird logic of his lyrics. In "Uncle Kyle Says," one of the few tracks that really moves, Field sing-songs a litany of summer camp-counselor bromides ("Uncle Kyle said/is everybody fed?/does anybody need a restroom?") that click into place like a column of falling dominoes. If the verses weren't so dense, the songs would be perfect for singalongs. Despite the slight drawl and occasional pedal steel, Little Wings seems less informed by country music than by pop folk, but minus the phony show-biz cheerfulness. Field's good humor is totally genuine.



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