The Lassie Foundation

I Duel Sioux and the Ale of Saturn

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I Duel Sioux and the Ale of Saturn features six songs each by the Lassie Foundation and Duraluxe. In case you weren't keeping score, the Lassie Foundation are leaders in the clubhouse of the new wave of shoegaze bands of the late '90s/early 2000s, while Duraluxe are firmly in the tradition of American neo-psych as invented by Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips and adjusted by the Elephant 6 bands. The six Lassie Foundation tracks here are as strong as any from their excellent EPs or their two transcendent albums; the wall of guitars and haze of melody are fully intact and Wayne Everett is his usual angelic self as he floats above the music on a wave of falsetto and harmony. "Good Times Comin' My Way" is the head-and-shoulders standout track with its irresistible melody and huge hook, but "The Golden State" is also a contender. It shows a more restrained side of the Lassie Foundation as they peel back the wall of guitars and get dreamy. Fans of the band need to own this, and anyone who wants to be (and if you are a fan of shoegaze, dream pop, space rock, indie rock, or whatever you need to be) should not delay. It is the easiest release by the band to find by far. The only downfall is that there are only six songs. Hopefully, the six tracks by Duraluxe will help cushion that blow. The group displays a firm grip on melody and arrangement and on this release leans a little more toward the shoes than previously. The massed guitars of "Hit So Hard," the breathy vocals on "Ruled By Fear," the spacy groove and atmospheric guitars of "She Wants a Lucky Strike" -- these are hallmarks of the shoegaze sound and the band does them well. They get a bit too close to later-day Flaming Lips on the electronic-influenced "All Right," which sounds like an outtake from Yoshimi, especially when vocalist Troy Daugherty opens his mouth and Wayne Coyne's voice comes out. Despite it being a complete lift, it is still a decent song and pleasant to listen to. In fact, that pretty much sums up Duraluxe's contribution here.

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