The Pupils

The Pupils

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The Pupils are an artistic side project for Dan Higgs and Asa Osborne of Lungfish. The duo's self-titled album doesn't stray as far away from Lungfish's emo roots as one might think, but still manages to stand alone with a distinctive artistic identity of its own. The Pupils' material is eerie, stark, and extremely powerful, with sparse guitar and percussion matched by Higgs' plaintive wail to great effect. Lyrically, Higgs often comes out of left field with odd imagery and oblique poetry, but several of the tunes here resonate with crystal clarity. Among the best cuts are "Fountain Flame," with its majestic lyrical landscape, and "Mysterium," which offers some of the most convoluted pairing of syllables since Greg Graffin picked up a thesaurus. The song nevertheless weaves a hypnotic spell with exotic rhythms and echoed vocals. On the other hand, the electronic screeching of "Lamb With Human Hands" or the purposeful minimalism of "Witness the Sidewalk Weeping Pools of Martian Brine" sound like something out of Roky Erickson's worst lysergic nightmares. Overall, the Pupils' debut is a passable effort, an acquired taste, perhaps, but one sure to challenge your preconceived notions of rock music...and that's not a bad thing.

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