Sunset Valley


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Dreamy and psychedelic, Icepond's loose collages of sound -- keyboard washes, guitar jangle, and vocals that both sneer and recall the best of the lo-fi indie rock onslaught -- keep these 15 songs bouyant above the receding floor of life's deepest canyons. At times stylistically contrived, they're kept from mayhem by the patient melodies and insistent feedback flourishes that keep the album structurally in balance. "Help Me Babe," one of the album's strong suits, vacillates between a single guitar chord and lines like "Help me, babe I'm cavin' in/The train can't be my only friend/Besides the chopping block." On "Misery Jet," another winner, the band successfully gives in to catchy pop in a Beach Boys vein.

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