Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't

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An album that may get lost in the ever-expanding tentacles of the Elephant 6 extended family, the debut release of the Olivia Tremor Control's Pete Erchick is yet another slightly psychedelic, somewhat surreal, and altogether excellent release. Joined by a roster of friends, with many of the usual suspects (William Cullen Hart, John Fernandes, and Jeff Mangum) making cameos, the album, nonetheless, never seems to be anything but Erchick's project. Still, that's not to say that his use of his collaborators isn't a substantial feature, with nicely arranged harmonies accenting the rich layering of violin, cello, horns, and customary squeaks and whistles over his own ominous piano and fuzzy guitars. Whether finding big, gliding melodies ("Million Pieces") or noisy, bombastic experimental rock ("Big Gaint"), the spirit stays firmly rooted in a lo-fi psychedelic pop aesthetic and, as might be expected, the best tracks don't fall too far from the Olivia Tremor Control tree. Maybe not the most recognizable face on the Elephant 6 roster, releases like Erchick's make it all the more understandable how nearly everything that comes out of their collaborative camps is uniformly excellent. Overall, an album that plays well from start to finish.

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