Simian

Chemistry Is What We Are

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Coming across like a cross between one of the better Elephant 6 bands and the Beta Band, Simian don't trod ground that's too original with Chemistry Is What We Are, but they walk with a confident gait and utilize a full-produced sound to their benefit. In patches, they recall the Beatles, as on "Mr. Crow," where their mimicry almost sounds criminal, but it's a glorious mimicry that begs to be heard. In other patches, they recall Beulah's sunny-day psychedelia, as on "You Set Off My Brain." "One Dimension" even sees them sounding like Beulah practicing to be a Beatles cover band. The album matches lush, trippy guitars, high-pitched harmonies, heavy slow beats, clashing percussion, and spacy sci-fi sound effects toward a heady sound, though they occasionally appear to be aping the Beta Band. Indeed, "Tree in a Corner" could easily be mistaken for a track from Three E.P.'s. By the album's closer, "Grey," they've established themselves as a band to watch. (It should be noted that "Grey" isn't included on the U.K. import; it's a bonus track on the U.S. edition.) Their swirling melodies and weird atmospheric flourishes never sound contrived, and overall Chemistry Is What We Are packs a charm and sincerity lacking in many of their peers attempts at similar retro sounds. Though they're certainly not harbingers of innovation, they make their mark most convincingly here. Chemistry Is What We Are is a solid, powerful, and subtle debut.

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