January 23, 2020

77:78 – Jellies – Pias America

By Kristi Kates | Aug. 11, 2018

Sprung out of the musical outfit The Bees is this side effort from Tim Parkin and Aaron Fletcher, on which they play with different retro-fied sounds and overdubs, assembling puzzles of audio. While a couple of the tracks are a bit overwhelming to listen to due to sheer component overload (see “Pour It Out”), for the most part, these are snappy compositions that merge psychedelic folk with West Coast pop, best executed on tunes like “Compass Pass” and “Chilli,” and they’re especially fun listens for the pop-nostalgia fan. ***

Pedro the LionWinners Never Quit – Epitaph
Melodic and spiritual, reflective and theatrical, the latest from Pedro the Lion (aka David Bazan) takes the form of a loosely constructed concept album that tells the story of a corrupt politician and his brother, and the roads they take. Opener “Slow and Steady Wins the Race,” one of the standout tunes here, invites the listener to sink into the storytelling, which continues in folk-rock form through tracks “A Mind of Her Own” and the title track, as the sounds wrap around the narrative to craft a full listening experience and tale. ***

Boy Azooga1, 2 Kung Fu – Pias America
Hailing from Cardiff, Wales, this edgy blend of soul, psychedelia, indie-rock, and club crankers starts with solid beats and builds upon them via the multi-talented Davey Newington, who hails from a long line of musicians and shows off his skills on a range of sounds and instruments. Disco rhythms surface on tunes like “Loner Boogie” and “Jerry.” More lush arrangements take center stage on tracks like “Walking Thompson’s Park” and “Face Behind Her Cigarette”; the contrast between styles is part of what makes this set so listenable. ***

Field DivisionDark Matter Dreams – Bella Union
Another duo — this one made up of Nicholas Frampton and Evelyn Taylor — takes serious sound inspiration from the ’60s and early ’70s. Ranging from folk rock to shoegaze, this emotive set was recorded while the pair was on the road and co-produced with Midlake’s McKenzie Smith. It’s an assured sequel to their 2014 EP Reverie State and includes tracks like the acutely contemplative “Lately” rightalongside more uptempo tunes like “River in Reverse” and “Stay.” ** ½



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