Disappear Here

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Every year, a superlative LP appears from an unexpected source. So it is with these Sydney, Australia, vets, who took four years to get out their promising debut in 1995, then burned another couple years recording this sophomore LP that wipes the floor with it. On first listen, the tremendous, twinkling production by Wayne Connolly is the star, but so is the gorgeous, brisk, multi-layered pop that is painstakingly manifested. It straddles several salacious sounds and eras: from late-'60s psychedelia to late-'80s Midwest post-punk and from garage rock to small hints of atmospheric dream pop and louder Brit-pop as well. Pretty to an extreme despite the rhythm section, Disappear Here glides, nay, soars on the strapping, sugar-spun hooks of guitarist/songwriter William Arthur. In comparison to such flawless writing, his voice is a teensy bit reedy, but it also packs in boatloads of empathetic grace and becomes more charming with exposure, as seen on such propulsive beauties as the startling opener "You Were Always More Than a Trick to Me, Ray," the ending colossus "Cradle Song," and the bemused "Here She Comes." His magnetism oozes, especially melted like grilled cheese into his chiming, burbling, cauldron-bubbling, and absolutely spell-inducing guitars. Ahh, those guitars! Mixing in a nice breadth of styles that nod toward the Buffalo Tom/Man Sized Action/early-Soul Asylum/late-Hüsker Dü thick, streamlined hum without the distortion, the sounds of Disappear Here snare listeners from first play with their dynamite sonics and then holds them hostage thereafter with the sheer talent, scope, variety, and well-thought-out dynamics on display. This superb piece of work demands and deserves every spin it gets. Bravo!