Blue Sonoco

All Asians are UFOs

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Collecting the entirety of the teenage band's output -- various singles and demos, plus radio show snippets and so forth -- All Asians Are UFOs may be little more than exuberant geekery from folks who would find other musical pursuits in future, but that's precisely why it's so good. Brian Miller being one of the many minds turned on by the alt-rock explosion of the early nineties, it's little surprise that many songs owe debts to the likes of Pavement, say. There's a likely reason why he says "Breakdown!" at one point during "Cherubim," letting a squeezebox take a solo turn as a result. The real surprise about All Asians Are UFOs is how fun it all is, and how much variety Miller and bandmates Brien Heinz and Matt Kimberling, plus scattered others, bring to the table, from acoustic strumalongs to random noise fests. Even early on they're not content to create soundalike punk rock, say -- check the free-floating, watery feedback and distortion crumble that leads off "Seraphim," for instance, or the violin mania that helps make "Camera Shy" an easy standout. Miller's singing is all the more fun for his voice's nicely odd accent -- not quite Anglophile, not quite screamed disaffection, not quite anything but itself, whether at high or low volume -- while the subjects of songs like "Mammary Glands" aren't as juvenile as one might think, or at least overtly so. "Fish Songs" actually makes for one of the better metamusic self-analyses out there, all one an a half minutes of it. More than a few songs call to mind earlier efforts of Jake Anderson's, which is likely why this collection appeared on his Tape Mountain label -- further evidence that said outfit is one of the better ones out there in the earlier 21st century.