The Swirlies

Blonder Tongue Audio Baton

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The Swirlies' first full-length album melds noisy guitars, samples, and sweet girl-boy vocals into a disheveled take on dream pop. Where so many dreamy bands polish their sound into pristine oblivion, the Swirlies create a hazy atmosphere that is evocative and unpretentious. Blonder Tongue Audio Baton -- named after a vintage tube equalizer -- combines the elements of the band's early work with more complexity. Songs like "Bell" and "Vigilant Always" juxtapose gentle and brash moments for a spontaneous feel, while "His Life of Artistic Freedom" expands on the Swirlies' noisy, experimental side. The group also shows off their accessible fuzz-pop on the album's centerpiece, "Pancake." The combination of Seana Carmody's demure vocals, big guitars, and burbling Mellotrons makes for one of Boston's most memorable pop moments since the Pixies' "Gigantic." The crunchy rhythms of "Tree Chopped Down" and "Wrong Tube" complement Damon Tuntunjian and Carmody's limpid vocals beautifully, and the sweetly noisy "Wait Forever" sums up the Swirlies' homemade noise pop aesthetic. A mainstay of early-'90s indie music, Blonder Tongue Audio Baton still sounds fresh today.

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