Electric Ocean

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Scraps may not be the most inspiring band name ever, and could lead casual observers to think that even if the person who named the band doesn't think it's more than leftovers, why should they? Pity anyone who's turned off by the name, because Laura Hill's project is well worth investigating if you're a fan in any way of tenderly sung songs played on cheesy synths and cheap-o drum machines. After releasing songs and records for a number of labels and honing her craft, her proper debut album, Electric Ocean for Fire Records, sees Hill displaying her fragile talents in a number of different settings, all of which work really well and add up to a pocket-sized treat. She proves adept at crafting heartbreakingly sincere bedroom indie pop on "Mushroom Gods" and the aptly dreamy "Asleep," shows off some new wave skills on "Holiday" (which sounds like the Waitresses on some weird drugs), and winningly crafts very warped synth pop like "Projections" and the delightfully moody title track. The most promising track, where she really seems to be looking past the bedroom and reaching out toward the world at large, is the pulsing, slow-motion disco delight "Saphire Plaza." It's a lovely song with a very catchy vocal that could sneak its way onto the playlist of a more adventurous DJ here and there. The only song that doesn't really work is the meandering instrumental "Lonely Motorbike," otherwise Hill sounds like she's totally on top of making very accessible, very intimate outsider pop that belies the name she's chosen to perform under completely.

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