The Murky World of Seats

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The Murky World of Seats is a revelation. The shambolic, fractured, and melodic charms of Garlic's debut album are impossible to deny, and vocalist Mike Wyzgowski's voice is the next best thing to or perhaps even superior to Lou Reed's nasal inflections. Musically, fuzzy abstract rock guitars rule the day, and influences as broad as the aforementioned Reed, Built to Spill, the Pixies, Neil Young, Pavement, Grandaddy, Sonic Youth, and Sparklehorse mingle and mix to create an entirely original sound. These influences make for a consistently excellent and compelling listen. "Not Over Yet" sounds like a Neil Young song tackled by Black Francis; "Doorstop Nominees" feels like Lou Reed fronting Pavement, as noisy squalor and a complete lack of pretension make for a modern classic; "All in the Name of Fun" sums up the song and the album to a T, as a storming swagger and punchy drums form one of the most irreverently moody rock songs this side of the Rock*A*Teens. It's really quite remarkable how much Wyzgowski's voice feels like a blend of Neil Young and Lou Reed; it's to the point where fans of either of those classic artists will instantly take to Garlic. That Garlic attacks every note with a simultaneous fervor and subtlety not found in some of the band's inspirations adds cohesion to an album that could have otherwise flown off the handle due to its influence-surfing. If the album has an identity crisis, it's a magnificent one. One can only hope that Garlic will continue to operate in the rare, perfect air of The Murky World of Seats.

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