Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New albums from Finish Ticket and Sun Clay

Tears You Apart
* * * 1/2

Finish Ticket are now a far more recognized band than they were when they released their last EP two and a half years ago; though one may expect a band as populist as these guys to go all-out Maroon 5 on our asses, their long-awaited debut Tears You Apart is their artiest, weirdest, and best album yet.  Though it would be a stretch to call anything on it “experimental,” Tears You Apart finds the band taking a few satisfying sonic risks--“Pockets” features arpeggiating synths and Cure-like pizzicato string melody, while “Bring The Rain” and “Lying Through Our Teeth” use a wealth of studio effects to create an almost psychedelic atmosphere.  All of it comes together on the fantastic “Killing Me,” whose bold chord changes, spooky coda and haunting harmonies make it possibly the band’s best song yet and certainly their most beautiful.  However, most of these events occur during the album’s second half, and though there are only two skippable tracks on the album (“Catch You On My Way Out,” “In The Summer”), the first four songs probably won’t appeal as much to those who aren’t total suckers for the pop-rock sound.

Wreck Coast Revival
* * * 1/2

Psych-pop prodigy Matthew Horton recorded The Side Of The Room, his brilliant debut as Sun Clay, largely by himself; Wreck Coast Revival is Sun Clay’s first album as a band, a shift that has completely redefined the project’s sound and direction.  While The Side Of The Room was devoted to rough-hewn yet effective pop songs in the Deerhunter/Pixies school of songcraft, Wreck Coast Revival is meandering, introspective, and groove-focused.  Horton’s decision to make Sun Clay a band does not appear to have anything to do with the sonic potential of more instruments and more instrumentalists; on the contrary, the instrumental textures here are far more uniform than on The Side Of The Room.  Wreck Coast Revival’s lack of sonic diversity is what makes it ultimately a step down from its predecessor, whose toolbox timbres were key to its appeal.  But the new musicians do their job, providing a substantial backdrop for Horton’s hand-on-chin ponderings; it’s as if Horton is a meditator and the band’s grooves are a forest or a beach or something where he can sit down and let his mind stretch out.

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