The Faraway Places

Unfocus on It

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Chris Colthart and Donna Coppola used to be in a psych pop band called Solar Saturday. They also drifted through the lineup of Papas Fritas before relocating to California and becoming the proprietors of the Faraway Places. For Unfocus on It, the sound is bright-hearted Byrds and Elephant 6 pop, filtered prettily through poptronic and Krautrock tree branches. Of course there's the sound of a hundred other bands in there, lost in the echoes of string sections ("Summertime"), or inside raggedy, crackly '60s guitar lines (the fabulously loopy opener "Marvelous Error"). But the shared vocals of Colthart and Coppola are quite endearing, and the songs' occasional shifts into chintzy electronic accompaniment is really fun. (Check the layers of vintage synth soloing in "City on the Ocean".) Lyrically, Colthart doesn't feel the need to make any statement; lines like "Can't Get Through"'s "All the people on the street/Wallflowers with broken feet/I was hopin' that we would meet" seem like happy-go-lucky filler until the next opportunity for a percolating bassline or addictive melodic break. While it's so upbeat that it seems brief, Unfocus on It is actually a respectable nine songs and 40 minutes. It even ends with a nearly eight-minute opus. "Come Apart" trades the sun and dizzy glee of the album's remainder for an elongated riff on Brian Jonestown Massacre-style trippiness. However, this works too since the Faraway Places and their collaborators don't seem to make any bad decisions instrumentally.

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