Common Loon

The Long Dream of Birds

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The Midwest isn't generally regarded as a hot spot for the sounds of neo-psychedelia, but that may have to change with the arrival of Common Loon. A duo of comprised of lifelong friends Matthew Campbell and Robert Hirschfeld, the Champaign, IL pair generates a big noise for a band with just four hands between them. Things open with the rather Flaming Lips-like space pop of "Dinosaur vs. Early Man," where ethereal "na-na-na" harmonies float over aqueous guitar lines and twinkly, toy keyboards, quickly revealing the group's passion for both epic-sounding tracks and dreamlike atmospheres. The more rock-oriented "Palestine Everywhere" offers up a lead vocal that may momentarily startle Game Theory fans with its striking similarity to that bands' singer, Scott Miller, but rest assured, all the sounds on The Long Dream of Birds are made strictly by Campbell and Hirschfeld. While most of the album finds Common Loon on an interstellar pop journey full of heavily processed guitars, burbling synths, and reverb-laden vocals, there's a consistent dynamic push-and-pull between the more earthbound, guitar-rock moments and the spacier stuff. The duo is at its dreamiest on the puffy-cloud ballad "Greenland," where the line "I've got an ocean of circular motion hovering over me" is as accurate a description of the track's layered luminosity as anything else someone could come up with. Things close on as dramatic a note as the opening, as Common Loon works itself up into an overdubbed orgy of guitars and vocals worthy of Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space-era Spiritualized, before rocketing off into the stratosphere to plan their next cosmic adventure.

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