Umbrella Sequence

Sparkler Cliché

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Minneapolis indie rock quintet the Umbrella Sequence claim to be influenced by Radiohead-inspired outfits like Muse and Sigur Rós, but no matter how (or why) they try to mask it, Sparkler Cliché finds the Ryan Rupprecht-fronted group bowing at the altar of Thom E. Yorke as expected. Not that there's anything wrong with wearing your influences on your sleeve, as capably arranged songs like "Factories Make Colors Possible" and "So Shine Sunshine" assert. If the latter sounds great but feels like a downer and the former has an art-school irony built right into its title, both get pinned down by Rupprecht's high, thin vocals. Because of this, the guy sounds more like a talent than a visionary, but his bandmates do what they can when they're allowed. And on occasion, dueling guitarists Nick Sander and Jake Swogger actually get to take their axes out of their cases to bolster tunes like "Re-entry Means Less," but Moog and Wurlitzer-prominent tunes like the waltzing "About a Photograph" are the mainstay of an album that has enough keepers to grow the Umbrella Sequence fan base. Most notable among them is "Penny Blue," which has the same kind of expressive, experimental magic missing from indie rock since the decline of Austin's Gloria Record.

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