Marty Willson-Piper

Hanging Out in Heaven

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For those who think of Marty Willson-Piper as the principle architect of the Church's self-consciously Byrds-like jangle pop, or as the wispy-bordering-on-insufferable solo artist who spun yards of shimmering gauze with an acoustic 12-string and a metronome on several solo albums, his latest effort (actually the culmination of five years of on-and-off studio work) may be a bit startling. The cascading 12-string arpeggios are still there, but now they tend to be couched in dense, psychedelic textures. The melodies are still present too, but they sometimes fight to be heard through the din. It's not a bad din, though: on "Wreck (A Sea Shanty)" Willson-Piper manages to build a recognizably nautical theme out of roaring, echo-drenched guitars and layered feedback; "Watching Us" is just as thickly textured and drips as much reverb as "Wreck," but it sounds more strummed and crystalline. Then on "What Is Her Name" and "Forget the Radio" he's like the Willson-Piper we've always known and shaken our heads at with tired affection -- mystically romantic, a little bit fey, and impossibly tuneful. Highly recommended.

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