Witch Hazel


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Landlocked begins by displaying its huge tonal devotion to the Beach Boys -- the falsetto harmonies and spacious, organ-filled mixes are all there, only mixed with a bit of indie pop and a few touches of 4AD-style art rock. Which could prompt any number of contemporary references -- Felt meets the High Llamas, Tindersticks meets Stereolab, His Name Is Alive's Warren Defever produces Blueboy, Pale Saints -- Landlocked might not live up to the consistent quality of some of these projects, but the stylistic comparisons are vaguely appropriate. The album's only flaw, in fact, is that its songwriting isn't always primed to fit with these stylistic explorations. Groups like Stereolab or the High Llamas achieve much of their idiosyncratic tones through composition, but Witch Hazel occasionally falters and winds up with muddled tracks. Nonetheless, Landlocked is entirely pleasant listening. It may not be brilliant, but it's sweet, soft, and blissful in the best of ways.

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