All Tiny Creatures

Dark Clock

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Falling somewhere between the kaleidoscopic electro-pop of Passion Pit and Foster the People, and the vintage, retro-'80s pop of the Horrors, Dark Clock, the second studio outing from the Wisconsin-based, Thomas Wincek (Collections of Colonies of Bees, Volcano Choir)-led All Tiny Creatures, is a richly detailed, heavily arpeggiated, and highly quaffable bubble tea of a record that is as aloof as it is inviting. Seemingly constructed for some alternate universe club where the dancefloor is an inflatable moon walk, it's all atmosphere and effervescence, sequencers and ghostly backing vocals, offering up ten lovingly dense earworms that bathe simple melodies in gossamer tendrils of smoky synths and staccato rhythms. At its best, Dark Clock bridges the gap between the experimental, loop-driven ambience of bands like Animal Collective and Sigur Rós and the more song-oriented approach of a Toro y Moi or Neon Indian, with highlights arriving via the epic, Krautrock-fueled opener "Comets," the evocative and elegiac "All Die Out," and the propulsive "Quickest Cut," the latter of which comes the closest to invoking the radio-ready opulence of Passion Pit's millennial stadium pop. Elsewhere, the buoyant "Chase Lights" lives up to its moniker with four minutes of post-storm rainbow bliss, the multi-layered "Lone Sound" channels classic Haircut 100 and Scritti Politti-era new wave, and the lovely and evocative "Reunion" closes things out with a Smiley Smile, layering Beach Boys harmonies over shimmery wavelengths of sound that may as well be emanating from the world's biggest (virtual) conch shell.

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