The Distance Is So Big

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The Distance Is So Big, the third long-player from Buffalo, New York-based indie rockers Lemuria is so steeped in the D.I.Y. fuzz rock of the early 1990s that it may as well come with a juice box, a bucket hat, and a Hacky Sack, but what it lacks in contemporary vision it certainly makes up for in sheer enjoyment. The 46-second opener, "Michael and Stephen Moon," offers up a swelling, a capella red herring before launching into the infectious "Brilliant Dancer," a blissed out, bookish, noise-pop confection that marries the decidedly plain boy/girl interchange of Yo La Tengo with the sneaky, punk-kissed melodies of Jawbreaker. It's a formula that's applied liberally throughout the album, especially on standout cuts like the propulsive, Breeders-esque "Congratulations Sex," the infectious, enigmatic "Chihuly" ("Hypnotic bright shiny teller/I walked into the propeller"), and the intoxicating "Oahu, Hawaii," the latter of which benefits from the addition of a cello section, an unexpected treat that gives the whole affair a sort of slacker chamber pop vibe. Drummer/singer Alex Kerns' jazz-tinged, incredibly tasteful kit work goes largely unnoticed until multiple spins are applied, but his laconic vocal delivery is always up front, and serves as a nice counterpart to guitarist/singer Sheena Ozzella's more acrobatic style, especially when the two meet up on the choruses. It would be easy to just call The Distance Is So Big a love letter to all things Pavement-era Matador Records and leave it that, but there's more to it than just fan fiction. Three albums in and Lemuria are starting to explore past the point where their heroes left off, and while it's not quite uncharted territory, it's certainly moving in the right direction.

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