In the vein of Neutral Milk Hotel and the Decemberists, In Ribbons pairs rich, chorused acoustic sounds with a shrill and wavering voice that narrates for us sad stories about people who do stupid things because of love. Now that it’s become so much of a stereotype, it sounded to me like a formula for mediocrity, but John Cole, the man behind In Ribbons, manages to squeeze little spots of brilliance out of clichés.
The single is a toothpaste-colored vinyl 45 with two songs, both of which are cute and heartrending in their own way. The title track builds slowly to an orchestral finale, which is appropriately thick and loud and bursts with heartbroken energy. The B-side isn’t quite as memorable, but it still has the freshness and narrative longing that so much music lacks. The best part is that it’s all recorded admirably well, especially for an unknown indie-rock trubador with just a laptop and a guitar.
Please go ahead and shell out three bucks for the vinyl version of this single. I am the most zealous advocate I know of iTunes and free downloads, but on the inside, my bearded, beret-wearing, purist feels the need to advocate anyone who still puts out music on wax. And when it’s so cheap, what could go wrong? The only thing more I can hope for is that we’ll be updated on Mr. C and Mrs. D’s conditions on future albums.