Ken Stringfellow's second solo album on Manifesto Records - which, I admit, I wasn't expecting to think much of. I'd heard This Sounds Like Goodbye and had been witness to a visibly hungover and nervous Ken performing a lackluster set at Fez under Time Café a few weeks before Touched was to be released. But I landed a burned copy of an advance and, from the first chord, I was in love.

This is a perfectly crafted pop album, and still far sadder and weirder than anything Ken did with the Posies. The songs are all originals - well, Stringfellow originals, some of the songs were released in different forms by Saltine - and blend Brian Wilson-esque pop with the feeling of smoky cabaret standards. The album, taken as a whole, manages to be both incredibly lonely and uplifting at the same time. I guess that's to be expected when a record begins with "How could it be a heaven where they kicked you out 'cause you kicked out your chair from above..." and ends with "Here's to the Future".

(I've been playing it for a month straight. It kills me every time.)

  1. Down Like Me
  2. This One's on You
  3. Find Yourself Alone
  4. Sparrow
  5. Reveal Love
  6. Uniforms
  7. One Morning
  8. Spanish Waltz
  9. Fireflies
  10. The Lover's Hymn
  11. Here's to the Future

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