The songs on Western Electric
do not demand your attention. Instead, they ask for it politely, and then plant themselves deeply in your subconscious. Sparsely arranged and smartly produced by Elliott Smith
, the focus of Western Electric
is Krebs' wispy voice and acoustic guitar. And like Elliott Smith
has the songwriting talent to keep his sad songs from wallowing in self-pity. The lyrics are uniformly solid. Songs about bad love ("Love/Hate" Relationship"), disappointment ("Madison"), and failed hopes ("Horsepower Daydreams") are sympathetically performed. Other songs, like "JFK," feature lyrics ("Idle ways for idle times/memorize your power lines") that are interesting and slightly obscure. Other highlights include the instrumentals "Luminous" and "Tom Waits and the Attack of the Crab Monster," a Waits-like soundscape that features knife sharpeners and carnival organs.