Months ago, a colleague handed me a CD of rough tracks from John Lamonica. The voice was unlike anything I'd heard in Dallas music--dangerously soulful, raucous and rich. So his new five-song EP, How Shall They Hear?, came as a bit of a shock, a series of lullabies, somber as a lonely Sunday morning. The voice that had been so boisterous had hushed into something spare, sleepy and haunting, far more Iron & Wine than Al Green. "How can I sleep when you're so far from me?" asks track four again and again (song titles are nowhere to be found on the CD or liner notes). Such mysterious shifts in trajectory may be par for the course with Lamonica, formerly of the Polyphonic Spree, an artist once rumored to be dead, who worked in a greenhouse and landed a part in John Cameron Mitchell's latest film, Shortbus. That said, How Shall They Hear? (produced by Casey Diiorio) is a marvel of lo-fi longing, softly strummed heartache in search of a silver lining. It's content to underwhelm, to leave the listener wanting more, so that the question isn't "How shall they hear?" but, rather, "When can we listen next?"
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