You'd think they'd be fixing for a shoot-out in the indie-rock stronghold of Omaha, Neb. Long packed with the celebrated bands released on that town's indie label Saddle Creek, until now, the only solo singer-songwriter of note has been Conor Oberst, who releases music with the shape-shifting collective Bright Eyes. But now, Denver Dalley bears his arms as the musician behind Statistics, following up his 2003 debut EP with "Leave Your Name," a full-length album of delicately muscled synth-drenched rockers. But in true Omaha fashion, Oberst and Dalley are collaborators, not foes, who play together in the indie-punk band Desaparecidos. The two part ways in their solo work, however, as Dalley favors strident uptempo songs with a tougher sound than the dreamy opuses that Oberst pens. While Dalley may not achieve the same depth as Oberst, his modern-rock foundation is dressed with wide-ranging emotions, from contemplative to brash. Both moods surface in album opener "Sing a Song," which alternates between spacey synths and giant guitar riffs. The rock bursts out on "Mr. Nathan," as a bright, jangly guitar melody loops over swooning synthesizers and a slow steady beat, before amping up into a grinding guitar solo, but pulls back for the mournful, sexually suggestive ballad "2 A.M." Whether the sound is big and heavy or slight and delicate, Dalley shows he has the vision to stand alone on an album that addresses contemporary society with clear-eyed conviction.
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