Absinthe Blind's fifth album builds on the stylistic shifts begun on its predecessor, The Everyday Separation. Moving even further away from the relatively accessible shoegazer pop of 1999's Music for Security, Rings is a neo-psychedelic epic featuring lengthy, slowly unfolding songs that take a few listens to fully sink in. Produced by the band's old Champaign-Urbana chum Matt Talbott (of emo stalwarts Hum) and art pop master Keith Cleversley (Spiritualized, Flaming Lips, etc.), the album has a rich, layered sound that tends to reduce singer Adam Fein's vocals to only a minor role in the final mix. (Sister Erin Fein's solo showcase, "Brave," sets her pleasant Margaret Fiedler-like murmur slightly higher in relation to its swirling backdrop.) The songs are a varied lot, with the two-part "Bands" showing the group's range, from the psychedelic marching band coda of the first part to the tongue-in-cheek Pink Floyd parody of the second, in which Fein shows off a dead-on Dave Gilmour impersonation. The expansive ten-minute "Now I'm Where I Need to Be" is the album's high point, swelling to a glorious sheets-of-sound climax that recalls the most enriching parts of Spiritualized's Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason