New Bethel

Inside the Blue Vera

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The debut album by Los Angeles indie trio New Bethel is an intriguing blend of slightly twee indie pop sounds (guitarist Aaron Buckley and organist Molly Williams both favor the uncertain pitch and slightly clashing harmonies of the K Records crowd) and more complex post-rock-style song structures. The lengthy, meandering songs usually move through several distinct musical sections, often ending up somewhere entirely musically unrelated to where they began. The combination of minimal, live-sounding production (it doesn't sound like there are any overdubs on the entire record) and the fairly sophisticated arrangements gives Inside the Blue Vera an immediacy that's often lacking from post-rock, and the open-ended song structures give the album a bit more musical heft than many indie pop releases. Although the album starts off on a slightly wrong footing with the yelping "The Great Decline," things quickly take a turn for the better with the pulsating, organ-led instrumental "Radio Started," which sounds like a lo-fi iteration of early Stereolab. The album's high point, however, is the rattling seven-minute closer, "Over the Counter," which starts with a lovely waltz-time intro, segues gracefully into the album's best vocal section, and ends up as an elongated free-form jam.

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