The Autumns

Angel Pool

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Right from the opening guitar wash, drone, and chime, not to mention the echoing drums, it's clear that the Autumns' well-documented love for such British art/rock combos as the Cocteau Twins and Slowdive isn't imaginary. "The Garden Ends" is a flat out lovely float of a track, measured and shimmering in the finest post-shoegazer style, but the band happily avoids being just another blissout clone thanks to the strong vocals of Kelly. He almost achieves a glammy, if still relaxed falsetto more than once, bringing an extra exultance to the proceedings. It isn't his only little trick either -- the opening lines from "Relinquished" sound like they could have been sung by the Red House Painters' Mark Kozelek, an inspired tip of the hat. That little step further is what separates the Autumns from any other "guitar pedals and My Bloody Valentine" groups out there, and what makes Angel Pool such a fine debut. While the album in general doesn't deviate from the basic template set up by the first track, it's an addictive combination nonetheless, out of sync with the late-'90s music scene on nearly all fronts and, in many ways, all the better for it. Frank Koroshec's guitar work is just lush enough, happy to embrace digital delays and the alluring mix of power and beauty that such can provide, to also help the Autumns stand out that much more. Drummer Eric Crissman is a bit less distinct in comparison, but when his work gets a slightly clearer punch on songs like "Juniper Hill," in combination with a lengthy, beautiful ending and concluding with a last little bit of piano, it works wonders. A few fun, unexpected touches here and there, like the sudden silence in the title track slowly followed by a dreamy ambient section, adds to the album's fine impact.

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