Friday, October 07, 2005

The leaves are growing old and deathly again as we all come together for the seasons of mischief. This was originally to be Part 2 of my Summer's End Pop Roundup, but now it's simply:

Part One of The Fall:

Old friend Øyvind Holm (Ringleader of Norway's masters of psych pop delirium, Dipsomaniacs) returns with his solo debut, "The Vanishing Point" (Camera Obscura), a heartfelt collection of rustling folk pop and psych rock that draws from the likes of the Byrds, Love, Dylan, John Lennon and maybe Guided By Voices for influence, but of course the biggest inspiration on Øyvind's songs is his life, and it's one lived with emotional clarity. These ten tracks easily rank among his best, but then he's probably one of the most consistant tunesmiths on the planet after all is said and done. "Self-Mutated Summer Breeze" goes from a jangly uptempo rush to fuzz implosion before the rousing chorus takes us to the fade. Elsewhere he employs harmonica, ivory tickles and tasty string swells to give everything a nice warm push into the coming cold season. For fans of Cardinal (excellent s/t'ed album recently reissued), the more structured side of Elephant 6, Beulah, later REM, etc... I'd also like to give a quick nod to Dungen and the reissue of their lovely breakthrough, "Ta Det Lugnt" album here in the states on Subliminal Sounds/Koch. It comes with a bonus EP of material (not as good as on the album, so not really essential if you already scored the import version) in a lovely digipack. What I said before still applies: "Some might dismiss "Ta Det Lugnt" as too retro or, the horror, too Swedish; fair I suppose given Gustav Ejstes sings everything in his native language in a nasally Lennon-esque tone, but I hesitate to see these traits as shortcomings. In a way similar to maybe Gorkys Zygotic Mynci, Dungen relishes all the retro trappings with glee and, by extension, so does his audience. The pummeling Jack Bruce meets Keith Moon drum work, the ornate strings, astounding guitar work and reverb drenched vocals are all lovingly employed in a dish crammed full of inventive ideas....easier to get into than a Volvo."

Every one of Mercury Rev’s six albums to date brings something interesting to the table, though the last one definitely showed them floundering a bit. "The Secret Migration" (V2) is a step back in the right direction me thinks with booming, shimmery pop constructions conjured with an ear towards classic 60s symphonic psych and all our favorite musical auteurs. The results are upbeat with a deep production, if not a tad overly familiar. This could be the best thing they've released since "Deserter's Song" and not necessarily just another rehash of what's come before; either way, it’s definitely a Mercury Rev record, with an almost mythical quality cascading throughout. I still like what they have to say, but it largely seems the rest of the world has moved on, or regressed, depending on your perspective.

This Delaney girl is new to me, but I like her moxy on this self titled debut, released by the Pehr Label. A Frenchie playing jangly pop songs that fall somewhere between Cat Power and PJ Harvey, all sung in the native language, mind you, which I suppose would make this French pop! Sensual and catchy, sad and a little pissy, she manages to transcend her predictable origins, and occasionally rocks out in the process. Better than expected, though not that original. What is today? Not Of Montreal, but they're still fun to shake yo booty to. "The Sunlandic Twins" (Polyvinyl) is a funky, freaky, poppy dance fix that combines their previous Beach Boys worship with an ever growing slide into 80s post disco. Still timid and loveable, less maniacle than earlier albums. One of the songs is titled "Knight Rider" (a likely nod to George Romero's cult classic). Almost there... "Oceans Apart" (Yep Roc) comes to us via everyone's favorite Aussie guitar pop export, The Go-Betweens, and it’s another solid effort from these legendary Monkees obsessives. The Go-Betweens are definitely one of those bands that bridged the gap between DIY punk and modern day meloncholic/ melodic indie rock (The Clean and REM are two others), and these 10 songs perfectly convey just why that is; particularly the rousing acoustic jangle pop of "Finding You" and the gorgeous swoon of "Boundary Rider," both radiating a lingering sense of loss as they knock you out with their harmonic splendors. The whole collection is a gorgeous slice of seemingly effortless mid-tempo guitar pop the likes of which too few bands can muster these days, but that hardly stops them from trying, does it? Pay attension, folks. Master Forster and McLennan wrote the book. This version comes with a bonus disk of live material recorded in London in 2004 with a solid selection that spans their storied 27 year career. There you have it: Melodicsm incarnate.

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