Art of Gradation

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You'd think that after 11 albums, Lä-Ppisch wouldn't have anything more to say, but think again. Here, after trying out grunge, thrash, and hard rock, they suddenly switched and indulged in sunny, Beatlesque psychedelia. From the opening "Hello! Psychedelic Mania," with its "Penny Lane"-like brass section, to the Indian raga "Blackbird," the group hits all the right poses without being totally derivative. Although the group is producing themselves as usual, this is one of the best sonic productions since 1990's Make, with the tracks morphing into each other, and a deft use of sound effects making this headphone-listening fun (the thunderstorm on "To Be a Dreamer," with its "Taxman"-style groove; city traffic invading the middle of "Blue Gradation"). Recommended.