Release Date: Sep 30, 2008
Record label: Memphis Industries
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Alternative, Country
Absentee cut way back on the country-rock on their second album, Victory Shorts. What they don't scale back is the mordant wit of singer Dan Michaelson's lyrics, the band's raucous approach, the size and strength of the hooks, and -- best of all -- Michaelson's amazing voice. He has one of the deeper voices you're likely to hear outside of doo wop or opera; he sounds sort of like a steadier Johnny Cash or a way steadier Calvin Johnson.
Absentee are built around the baritone of frontman Dan Michaelson, a gravelly voice that recalls Leonard Cohen and the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt. If only Michaelson's lyrics could match theirs for social insight, devastating romanticism or sharp wit. Nonetheless, this second album gleams with promise. There's a heartfelt warmth to The Nurses Didn't Notice a Thing, in which a man in a maternity ward wants to applaud as his wife's waters break but fears it would be "inappropriate".