As usual, Michigan-based sonic envelope-pushers His Name Is Alive continue to boggle expectations with their beautiful, exciting music. On their fourth album for 4AD, Stars on ESP, the group mixes dub, dream pop, surf, country, and Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys into something altogether unique. The songs range from the deceptively simple, folky "Answer to Rainbow at Midnight" and "Famous Goodbye King" to bouncy pop like "Bad Luck Girl," "The Bees," and "Across the Street." Then there are the songs that defy easy description, like the beautiful, lilting "Dub Love Letter" and the "Good Vibrations" pastiche "Universal Frequencies." On the whole, Stars on ESP is their most acoustic-based since 1992's Home Is in Your Head and their brightest-sounding since Mouth by Mouth. However, the trademark strange, spacy noises that peppered the band's other releases can still be found on this album, particularly on "What Else Is New List" and "Wall of Speed." An eclectic, unique album -- it even includes a gospel song -- from an eclectic, unique band, Stars on ESP features His Name Is Alive at their most accessible and exciting.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares