Tel Aviv and Eight Other Originals

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The only thing that can be safely predicted about F.S.K. records is that each new one will be unpredictable in nature. That's certainly true of Tel Aviv, which -- unlike some of their other 1990s releases -- is definitely not something you would expect to be picked up by the Flying Fish label, or embraced by Camper Van Beethoven fans. There's some singing, but the emphasis is upon moody instrumental textures, often putting the weight on grandiose synthesizers, odd-sounding reverberating guitars that are apt to recall both surf music (especially with the occasional steel guitar licks) and Bill Frisell, and fat basslines that travel paths similar to both New Order and dub reggae. There are occasional inklings of a housey/trancey sound too, but this is too unnervingly eclectic and idiosyncratic to draw confident accusations of bandwagon-jumping. F.S.K. don't ultimately sound like anyone, refusing to settle in a steady groove. It's a thinking rock fan's mood music, and although it's not for everyone -- there's a cool and detached manner about the way they tinker and adjust components of their oddball sound -- it's certainly one of their strongest efforts, and undoubtedly their most well produced.