John Nolan

8 p.m. Thursday, August 20. The Firebird, 2706 Olive Street.

John Nolan has never been a complacent artist and never seems intimidated by the idea of venturing into uncharted creative waters. He left über-successful emo-rockers Taking Back Sunday just as that band was reaching its pinnacle to form pensive indie-pop act Straylight Run and this year is releasing his first solo album, Height. Most of these new tracks have a more home-studio, almost demo-like production vibe than the big studio shimmer of Straylight's recorded output. But that's not to say that the arrangements and instrumentation aren't challenging and creative, or that these songs are throwaways. On the contrary, "'Til It's Done to Death" skips along on the strength of rhythmic acoustic strums and a well-executed drum machine/acoustic drum-set tandem that leads perfectly to a harmony-laden hook, while "The Bering Sea" showcases Nolan's ability to create introspective prose about relationships and the unpredictability of human nature.

 
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