Sixteen Deluxe

Vision Take Me Make Me Never Forsake Me

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This album is sadly Sixteen Deluxe's swan song as a band, coming along after what seemed like positive steps in their lengthy career (including starting their own recording company, Figure Eight, and building their own studio, The Bubble, back home in Austin). Unfortunately, it also comes along a few years after the band's major-label debut, Sixteen Deluxe Emits Showers of Sparks, waned off the Warner Bros. sales spreadsheets despite a cluster of gleaming reviews and good word of mouth. Original bassist Jeff Copas left the band, replaced by Steven T. Hall, then by Kliph Scurlock, but despite lineup changes and poor sales, the group soldiered on with new recordings, this time focusing on highlighting the voice of guitarist/songwriter Carrie Clark, which had -- in the past -- often been buried in Frenchie's (aka Chris Smith) flurry of loud My Bloody Valentine-meets-old Flaming Lips guitar scree. The result here is that Clark's voice really shines for perhaps the first time, like a diamond in the rough. Some of VTMMMNFM's finest moments come midway through, but this one soars from 00:01. "Slat Rubry" rocks with sublime MBV-sounding vocals and '60s tambourine and raw power tom-tom vibe, and tumbles into the sonic tumult of "The Falling Last Season." Then there's a pyschedelicized fuzzed-out cover of David Crosby and the Byrds' hippie-fied Fifth Dimension freak-out, "What's Happening?!?!" "The King Fisher" is pure blissed-out pop and features Clark's gorgeous, heartstring-tugging voice hitting all those hooky notes. Sadly, this was issued just as the band -- while on their final U.S. tour -- decided to call it a day.

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