Verdure

The Telescope Dreampatterns

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At first, The Telescope Dreampatterns seems to be willingly designed so that you don't like it. The crude quality of the recording (especially in the opening track, "Into the Blacktrees"), Donovan Quinn's voice (too much of a Bob Dylan pastiche), the rather shaky playing (some instruments simply refuse to come in on the beat) -- everything seems to conspire to turn your ears off. And then you start noticing the strange but far from stupid lyrics, the alluring melodies (however amateurishly sketched), the intelligent arrangements (however rendered), and the overall charming aspects of Quinn's project. In fact, if you are already familiar with the production values of the early-2000s American underground neo-folk scene (which puts expression over musicianship and sound quality), by all means dig right in. Verdure's second official CD easily draws comparisons with Birdtree, Matt Valentine, Animal Collective, and the Iditarod. Quinn plays the "psychedelic fairy tale in the woods" recipe with aplomb while pushing it deeper into folk territory, Bob Dylan and Syd Barrett providing signposts. The Telescope Dreampatterns proposes 11 original songs (no jams) in the course of a mere 33 minutes. The listening experience is dense, eventful, and -- thanks to brevity -- not as much a discomfort as the first moments announced. Quinn takes care of everything, except for the more acid-drenched guitar lines in "Graveyard Porchlight" and "The Sea Funeral," performed by Derek Monypeny, and some percussion. The association between trippy, supernatural atmospheres and Dylanesque trailing vocals is unusual at the very least, but it retains a certain level of tension in the music, keeping it from becoming complacent. Although listeners may hate this album on first listen, every spin makes its production shortcomings appear smaller and its poetic aspects appear stronger -- enough to be recommended, and to justify some anticipation for Quinn's future activities.

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