Craig Ramsey Parting Gift For A Party Girl

As part of Cleveland, OH indie pop duo Bears, Craig Ramsey has been carving out a narrow musical niche for himself, as well as producing a bunch of other bands. Yet he felt the need to add a solo career to his already jam-packed résumé. Parting Gift For A Party Girl may as well be a Bears album because although there is the obvious lack of Ramsey's band-mate Charlie McArthur, there isn't any noticeable difference in the sound. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing because that band have already made a couple of lovely albums of quiet pop music, with this following in exactly the same vein. Like all the best albums, the songs tell the tale of an ill-fated relationship, documenting the highs and the lows, the longing and the regret, even though that range of emotions isn't immediately apparent from the songs, which are all painted in the same hue. So the happiest moments aren't exactly jubilant, nor the saddest ones completely bleak. Instead, Ramsey uses his usual restraint and wallows in the inevitability of it all amidst the gentle jangle. And just like with all his other records, it's so compelling that it's hard to walk away until it reaches its all-too-soon conclusion. (Independent)