Masters of the Hemisphere

Masters Of The Hemisphere

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Masters of the Hemisphere Review

by Stewart Mason

Unlike many of their compatriots on the Kindercore label, Athens, GA's Masters of the Hemisphere have little truck with cloying cutesiness or deliberate lack of musical sophistication. The lead duo of singing songwriters Sean Rawls and Bren Mead (helped out by drummer Jeff Griggs, multi-instrumentalist/secret weapon Adrian Finch and seemingly half of the Kindercore/Elephant 6 posse, including the Music Tapes' Julian Koster on accordion) know their late-'60s Beach Boys records, but they're not bound by simple imitation, and one gets the idea that the occasionally lo-fi sound is due more to financial constraints than stylistic affectation, which makes the muddiness of songs like the dreamy "Saucy Foreign Lass" more forgivable. The eight songs are varied and eminently likeable, from the '60s-style psych-pop (with trumpet) of "Billy Mitchell" to the New Zealand-style propulsion of the organ-based rocker "Everybody Knows Canada," and Rawls and Mead have appealing, unaffected voices. While superficially not all that different from many other Kindercore acts, Masters of the Hemisphere have songwriting smarts and instrumental and arranging chops that set them apart.

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