Victory at Sea | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Victory at Sea has been around for almost 12 years now, and the trio's music is starting to grow up. While their earlier efforts sometimes seemed a little rushed and anemic, their fifth album, All Your Things Are Gone (Gern Blandsten), is sturdy and patient. As always, front woman Mona Elliot is the centerpiece. A scene fixture in the band's hometown of Boston--she was also the singer for noise rockers Spore--Elliot can let loose like the banshee queen of the psych ward, then retreat into a prickly, smoky moan, like a less refined PJ Harvey. But it's a shame her maudlin ballads of heartbreak and insatiable romantic yearning are so often accompanied by Mel Lederman's electric piano playing. His sustain-and-delay-drenched style and New Agey plinking lack the heft to match Elliot's intensity, so he winds up sounding cheap rather than dramatic. Errant ivory tickling aside, the band's songs are mournful and moving, sometimes wonderfully overwhelming, and just a little scary. My Left Arm and Home Recording Project open. Sun 4/23, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Christian Borden.

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