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Democrat and Chronicle
by Jeff Spevak  15 May 2008
 
Say in the past 13 years or so, your band has written about 1,300 songs. How many of them would actually be worthy of hearing? By discerning humans, not just household pets.

"I would say they're all worthy," says Jeff Suszczynski, who wrote 1,200 of them. "Aaron" — that's Aaron Boucher, drummer for the Gifted Children — "would say one-fifth of them are worthy. But I have a perverted fondness for all of them because they bring you back to something."

The Gifted Children, playing Saturday at the Bug Jar, is what indie rock was before indie rock bands started signing with labels. It ranges from spooky orchestral sounds to chiming pop to sheets of shoe gazer guitar. It takes rock instrumentation and shifts the mood to lighter with flute, to melancholy with cello.

The lyrics are like conversations with a ghost, reading like poetry, although a moment later you're not sure it was ever there at all.

"It's like looking out of the corner of your eye," Suszczynski says, "and you can kinda see what I'm talking about."

Kinda, if you can define "otolith." There is a certain highbrow reach here by the 33-year-old Suszczynski, who works in library Web development at the University of Rochester. "A lot of musicians in their late 20s, early 30s are doing computer stuff," he says. "I go to library conferences, where I'll give a talk or something and, almost invariably, I'll meet two, three, four, five guys like me. Frustrated musicians who program computers in libraries."

Starting in the mid-'90s, the Gifted Children released 18 recordings of various lengths over "five or six years, then we just stopped," Suszczynski says. "We were just doing it for ourselves, anyway."

But the band, particularly Suszczynski, never stopped writing and recording. Saturday's show is a celebration of a purge that has seen the Gifted Children release one full-length record and seven shorter EPs this year alone, with two more full-length LPs and two more EPs set for later this year. "We have about 20 more albums just about ready to go," Suszczynski says. "Most of them just need a little mixing help, maybe some of the vocals re-done.

"I used to labor over songs. ... Now I say, 'Let's just finish it; hopefully it's a good song.' If it's not, next time I'll write a better one."

For more, go to www.thegiftedchildren.com.
 
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