Auburn Lull

Begin Civil Twilight

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In the mid-'90s, as both indie guitar bands and bedroom electronica artists were discovering common ground in the catalogs of Brian Eno and the gentler side of the Krautrock artists, the cutting edge indie label Darla Records instituted a soon-legendary set of EPs called, collectively, The Bliss-Out Series. These EPs, mostly gathering extended instrumental reveries that explored the confines of space rock and ambient pop, were a treat for fans, but the concept eventually faded from view as other fancies took hold. Lansing, MI's Auburn Lull never released anything in the Bliss Out series, although as 2005's anthology Regions Less Parallel: Early Works & Rarities 1996-2004 makes plain, they were certainly fellow travelers to the concept. Only the band's third full-length in over a decade of activity, the guitars and basses of Begin Civil Twilight drift along in eddies and pools of reverb as though the Bliss Out series never ended, but as always, Auburn Lull aren't interested in ambient drones for their own sake: at the heart of each of these 12 slowly unfolding tracks is a straightforward albeit hazy pop song, each featuring winsome, wistful, high-register vocals and impenetrable lyrics, usually buried deep in the mix under the crystalline swirls of the layered guitars, as on the dreamy "Grange Arcade." Fans of Yo La Tengo's mellower periods, Brian Eno's Another Green World, American Analog Set and Spiritualized will find Begin Civil Twilight a welcome return to a style of music that's been largely abandoned since its heyday.

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