FERNANDO, "Enter to Exit"
Portland is home to one of the most intriguing sounds of the past 20 years of new rock.Portland is home to one of the most intriguing sounds of the past 20 years of new rock. It's a hazy waltz of Liverpudlian rolls and Topanga Canyon-esque waves that stands as a fitting testament to the legacy of its greatest son, Elliott Smith.
And who better to spread the sonic gospel of the late artist than a neighbor in his old hometown. Upon first listen to "Enter to Exit," the brilliant new album from Portland songwriter Fernando Viciconte, you may feel you've uncovered some super secret studio session between Elliott and Jon Brion.
But who you're really getting down with is a cat who managed to fuse two iconic styles into one singular concept, with some great help from the likes of Jeff "Chet" Lyster and Derek Brown of the Eels and Paul Brainard of Richmond Fontaine fame. Highlights include the beautiful "Mariana," "One Trick Pony," the Spanish-sung "Pasajeros" and the Heatmiser-esque "My Magnetic Field."
"Enter to Exit" might not exactly replace "XO" in your life's soundtrack, but it proves Smith's spirit in sound remains alive and well in Portland. -- Ron Hart