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Monday, May 31, 2010

Sean Michael Dargan

Snap Your Fingers & Stomp Your Feet (Slightly Charred Records)

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Madison-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Sean Michael Dargan takes his time releasing albums, but they tend to be worth the wait. His crisp Snap Your Fingers & Stomp Your Feet arrives five years after The Big Picture (which, incidentally, came eight years after his eponymous second album). More raucous than The Big Picture, Snap Your Fingers highlights Dargan’s quirky arrangements, Midwestern harmonies and witty lyrics, delivered with a slight Southern accent.

He eschews his signature bagpipes in favor of a brass section on “I Scare So Easily” and “Goodbye”—an engaging opener that channels R.E.M. “Green” grooves to a pop-radio vibe; “Hey Joe Biden!” samples a speech from the title figure; “Three States Down” chronicles the life of a touring DIY musician; the breezy “Little Miss Sunshine” could be about an old car or an aging lover; and “If I Were Smart” assesses a relationship gone bad through Dargan’s self-deprecating charm. These are timeless, feel-good tunes.