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Lace Curtains, "A Signed Piece of Paper" 

After the collapse of the great garage-pop trio Harlem in 2011, the band's two primary songwriters Curtis O'Mara and Michael Coomer (or Coomers, as he's usually referred to) immediately began recording with new projects—Grape St. and Lace Curtains, respectively. Coomers' contributions to Harlem had always been the more biting and witty than O'Mara's, so it was a bit of a surprise that his 2012 record with Lace Curtains was in the time-tested post-breakup singer-songwriter model. Even with the volume turned down, Coomers' devastating and sarcastic observations were bullseyes--particularly in the heartbreaking "Bedroom Honesty."

The opening track on Lace Curtains' second album, "A Signed Piece of Paper," is the soulful disco stomp of "The Fly," which is more "Some Girls" than LCD Soundsystem and features a backing female chorus. It's not as shocking of a stylistic twist for Coomers as much as it initially appears—every record he's made veers off into unexpected territory—but it is an exciting one.

"A Signed Piece of Paper" doesn't turn out to be Lace Curtains' disco album—only three or four tracks really fit in that mold—but it does mark Coomers expanding his margins considerably. Along with these songs and the dubby "Kali," "Pink and Gold" and "Saint Vitus" are rock songs more straightforward than anything Harlem ever recorded.

But it's Coomers' lyrics that, as always, take center stage. "Pink and Gold" is exceptional—seemingly unrelated images spit out like a slide show of junkies, agents, lawyers and a "genius" found at Starbucks. But the words are always sung with the timing and phrasing of black comedy and emotional distance, except, perhaps, in "Wilshire and Fairfax," where a villainous narrator who uncannily resembles Coomers' persona whispers that it was all just a dream.

More by Joshua Levine

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