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The Boy Bathing
A Fire to Make Preparations
Road K
April 15, 2008
None Listed

A Fire to Make Preparations, by The Boy Bathing, is one of those rare things: an album with a coherent, uniform sound that nevertheless varies its style from song to song. Take “Thanksgiving,” for example: the track is a sweet tribute to Elliot Smith that manages to bring his style to mind without aping it. “The Leaves” uses the faint, familiar melody of “Beautiful Dreamer,” played heavy-handed on an electric guitar, while “The Beasts” is a country-inspired jangle that twangs and shimmies without seeming out of place on an otherwise indie album. (Maybe because the slight nasal quality of the traditional indie style actually gels nicely with the fervent howl of country music?)

Lead singer David Hurwitz wails through the tracks on A Fire to Make Preparations with a tremulous voice, which at times breaks into a scary Igorish whine. His backup vocalist, Jeannie Scofield, sounds precious-pretty when backing his earnestly wheedling sound, but when she has a moment to herself the warmth and humor in her voice has a chance to shine.

The songs themselves are almost painfully sincere, as the band fearlessly flings themselves over that emotional cliff whose edge makes so many bands these days stop and shuffle their feet and say “Uh...maybe we’ll just sing something ironic instead?” At times reminiscent of those masters of the lugubrious lullaby, Neutral Milk Hotel (but without the bagpipes), at times veering closer to the kitchy class of The Magnetic Fields, The Boy Bathing strips it all off in this open heart surgery of an album.

Favorite Track: “The Leaves”

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Kris Larson works as a freelance journalist in San Francisco. She has a degree in English Literature from San Francisco State but has so far managed to remain out of the food service industry. You can visit her website at
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