Maybe It's Reno: Maybe It's Reno

Maybe It's Reno: Maybe It's Reno

It sounds like someone's typing on a keyboard or opening a carton of milk in the background of "December," the last song on Maybe It's Reno's self-titled debut. That mundanity underscores a heavy mood: The group—essentially ex-Unrest bassist Bridget Cross, plus friends—revisits the death of Cross' father, a personal tragedy first set to music in "June" from Unrest's 1992 album, Imperial F.F.R.R. Cross appeared on Fugazi's The Argument in 2001, but sadly, she's lately been missing from the indie-rock scene she helped found. And Maybe It's Reno isn't going to recapture her admittedly subterranean glory. But the disc is messy and tender in a modestly gorgeous way: The first seven tracks constitute an Unrest reunion of sorts, with former bandmates Mark Robinson and Phil Krauth contributing to some chilled, whispery pop that picks up pretty much where the trio left off in the '90s. The last three tracks—including the aforementioned "December"—are the kicker, though. Captured in a different studio with a different lineup, the lo-fi scrappiness of "Drunk Pilot" is an injection of lightning, and "Lone Star" showcases Cross' sugar-crystal croon before cribbing liberally from Joy Division's "Novelty." And then the piano-laced "December" wraps things up with a morbid sense of closure that erodes and evaporates into nothingness. Cross seems to be fading from the music scene with a whimper—but at least it's a lovely one.

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