Colin L. Orchestra

Col

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Self-described by Colin L. Orchestra (aka Colin Langenus) as "a 65-minute psychedelic concept record," COL lives up to its goal as an "everything and the kitchen sink" project, helped out by about 20 guest performers throughout the disc who are all connected to similar worlds of 21st century experimental rock weirdness. The joy of it, though, is that COL is both engagingly poppy and fairly unified, twisting around with various experiments in styles just for the hell of it, but never seemingly a random compilation. Langenus' singing is perhaps the key, something earnest and engaging without being cloying, with a rootsiness that doesn't get lost in the weeds of wishing it actually was 1971 somewhere. But when you have a song like "Mendo Blues" -- all 13 minutes of it, with echoes and dub sounds, noodling blues guitar, string section breaks, spaced-out and overdub hip-hop verses, and string synths to boot -- something engagingly off-kilter is definitely at work. If that's the wiggiest moment, or series of them, there are plenty more to go around. A song like "Always Be" may, comparatively, be just a little sweet and stoned in feeling, even though it's another long one, but the industrial grind and stomp of "Greenpoint," and the squirrelly weirdness behind the verses of the kicking strum of "Jealous" are further facets on display. The quicker clips and rhythms of "Forty One" and "No Bridge," the near classic rock ballad feeling of "Keeper," and the moving feeling of "Long Nut" -- all chimes at the start before moving into chanting wordless vocals -- also stand out.

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