Blue Sky Roadster

Julio's Dream

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More smartly paced than its predecessor, The Magnificent Seven Social Club, Blue Sky Roadster's Julio's Dream stands as a fine, albeit transitional portrait of the San Francisco band. The EP is augmented by typically crisp production from vocalist/guitarist Todd Herfindal and Jamie Hill, and the welcome addition of alternate (read: slower) tempos on the latter half of the disc gives equal time to the band's brooding tendencies. The unquestioned high point here is the power pop masterpiece "Pacified," which features Herfindal's subtle, brilliantly varied vocal melody matched with a gloriously spinning riff courtesy of new guitarist Howard Myint (formerly of 7th Betty); the song remains one of the great, widely unheard singles of the late '90s. The band gradually slows the disc's overall tempo from that point forward, ultimately winding down the EP with "Black Clouds," a lovely waltz-time mood piece that finds Herfindal assuming a Pumpkins-esque air of dejection ("Ten million daisies in a haze/Could not make me smile"). An unlisted remix of the band's earlier "Breaking" -- to which Hill adds Roland 808 synths and the approximation of wind for that "foreboding" vibe -- closes Julio's Dream, a release that confirms Blue Sky Roadster finding its voice via improved songwriting and the invigorating addition of guitarist Myint to the band's lineup.

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