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Latest Review

Super XX Man's music is therapeutic in 'Volume XIII: White Bed'

If anyone knows about the healing properties of music, it's Super XX Man's Scott Garred: His day job is working as a music therapist for the mentally ill.

On his latest album, "Volume XIII: White Bed," Garred wades into those therapeutic waters himself. This record, which celebrates the 15th anniversary of Garred's critically acclaimed project, is also the aftermath of losing his father to a brief but intense battle with cancer.

Like previous Super XX Man offerings, "White Bed" is filled with superbly simple, stripped-down pop songs, but this time around, the tunes glisten with more wistful weightiness.

"I think about you/and I think about me/when I think about you," sings Garred on "About You About Me."

It's one of the most economical assessments of loss on record; a reduction of reflection (of what used to be, now is, and what will be) that's all the more devastating in its simplicity.

Garred has always used his Super XX Man persona to mine the ordinary for the extraordinary, but on "White Bed" his happy-go-lucky mask has melted in the face of grown-up issues, and done so with a grace that's a revelation unto itself. The real-life details are still here. "Big Box" nods to his father's tenure running a grocery store, while "White Bed" references the bed his father died in, but the loss that inspired their inclusion adds a beautiful patina that had been previously missing. It infuses this album with a warmth and shared humanity that's hard to resist.

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