Dappled Cities

Granddance

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    8
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Australian art pop/rockers Dappled Cities (formerly Dappled Cities Fly) come across like some sort of gleefully cracked mash-up of Pavement, 10cc, and the Flaming Lips on their U.S. debut, Granddance. Normally, a band as fond of bizarre falsetto vocals (opening track "Holy Chord," the driving and otherwise oddly Radiohead-like "Vision Bell"), willfully obscurantist lyrics (pretty much everything), and oddball arrangement and production tricks (ditto) would find their albums too insular to appeal to anyone beyond a small hipster cult, but the secret weapon of Dappled Cities is an undeniable pop sense that makes Granddance sound like someone slipped the Shins a massive dose of acid and a whole bunch of early Todd Rundgren and Split Enz LPs, then sent them into the studio. The songs are richly melodic to begin with, and then the elaborate production layers on a couple dozen ear-grabbing hooks per song on top of that, resulting in gloriously odd confections like "The Eve the Girl" and "Watercourse," and completely over the top extravaganzas like the pseudo-martial album closer, "Battlewon." The sort of album that takes a couple listens to truly sink in, once Granddance reveals its pure pop underpinnings, it becomes difficult to stop listening to.

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