The Waking Eyes

Combing the Clouds

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In both their previous incarnation as the Pets and their new collaboration as the Waking Eyes, Matt Peters and Myron Schulz have brilliantly articulated the notion of album as mix tape -- the sheer scope of their musical inspirations and aspirations is stunning, and though rooted in day-glo pop psychedelia, Combing the Clouds is far from a mere exercise in nostalgia, its songs running roughshod over pop history both recent and far-flung. Late-period Beatles, Todd Rundgren, and ELO are the most obvious reference points, but the record digs far deeper than that -- "Gone With a Glance" pays tribute to Queen; "New Rising Sun" conjures Cream; "Tergo Velum" evokes Bob Marley's "Redemption Song"; and "Sunday Morning Blues" is just that, an honest-to-God blues number. (And that's just for starters.) But far from amounting to less than the sum of its parts, Combing the Clouds manages to make its affections for rock's past relevant to contemporary demands: Even its hoariest clich├ęs are reinvented with postmodernist panache.

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