I Listen Thru All the Breaking Oceans

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Veronadowns' debut full-length is a mash of bittersweet boy-girl harmonies, gentle melodies, and delicate chamber pop. It has its undeniably catchy moments, is at times propulsive, and every once in a while sets itself apart with clever wordplay and occasional Pixies-esque guitar parts. But from "Isn't That the Way" to the simmering and epic "Slow Fly," you find yourself wishing you were listening to Liz Phair or Juliana Hatfield or even Imperial Teen -- pop musicians all legitimately comparable to Veronadowns, but always more energetic, hooky, and explosive. Listeners hoping for the cleverly crafted gems to turn toward more pop bombast will likely wish songs like "Feelers" didn't sound so much like Death Cab for Cutie. Veronadowns' music sparkles and shimmers, but it never seems to take off -- and the best chamber pop does -- plus it could legitimately be tagged with the "precious" label that has plagued the infinitely more wry and decidedly unprecious Belle & Sebastian. I Listen Thru All the Breaking Oceans is not for the highly caffeinated for sure, but there are certainly some slumbering dream poppers out in the ether who won't be able to get enough of the record.

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