Standing Inside A Shadow

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Not to be outdone by carbon-copy bands whose influences include the Smiths and Sunny Day Real Estate, this group's blend of improvisational and winding rock with some highbrow sensibilities makes for an enjoyable 40 minutes of sound, perfected on "Six Stages of Illusion." The tracks here often have songs within a song, as "Casual Handshake" is a good example, a tight pop number with a twisting bridge leading up to the chorus. The hard rock intensity of "Section One" is surpassed and overshadowed by the intricate pop spirals on "Motion," with no instrument controlling the song. Another positive characteristic of the group is each song's framework doesn't fit entirely in the normal box. "Bad Idea" is an especially good idea, but at barely over a minute, might be deemed unfinished. One of the stellar tracks is the instrumental "18.12.79," which could be a companion to Radiohead's "Creep," with the same minimal riff leading to a larger sound. Packing each song with as much punch as far longer epics, the group leaves many tunes as polished yet unfinished tight pop arrangements. Only on the wordy "A Timpani of Failure and Defeat" does the group sound unoriginal and almost uninspired, sounding like a homage to the Smashing Pumpkins. This album straddles both sides of emo pop and alternative, minimal rock.

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