Wooden Indian Burial Ground

Wooden Indian Burial Ground

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Within the murky waters of the current garage-influenced psychedelic revival, Wooden Indian Burial Ground stand out by being a little less murky than their peers. The group's self-titled debut album certainly revels in lo-fi production simplicity, plenty of noisy guitar strangling, and proudly outdated audio effects technology, but where most bands of this ilk strive to sound as if they're being dragged to the bottom of a swamp, Wooden Indian Burial Ground have embraced a welcome melodic clarity --sure the production is purposefully messed up, but you can actually hear honest-to-goodness songs on this album, as well as individual instrumental features and occasional goodies like cheerleader-style backing vocals on "Sparklerella," the vintage electric piano adding a mildly sinister texture to "A Long Way from Cerrillios," and the dreamy vocal harmonies lurking beneath the surface of "Lazy Ascension." WIBG leader Justin Fowler may be reaching for a seriously lysergic tone on this album, but the songs are thankfully straightforward for the most part, and his melodic sense generally owes more to vintage pop or garage rock than the trippy modalities of late-'60s psychedelia. "Bryant St. Death Cult" sounds like some moody Link Wray outtake stripped of his primal guitar, "Sparklerella" could have filled the dancefloors of hundred of teen clubs if it weren't for the thick layers of noise, and "Lazy Ascension" is subtly witty and playful, qualities not usually associated with this stuff. Fowler and his comrades tastefully apply their slop rather than diving into it head first, and the band hits a sweet spot between sloppy insistence and thoughtful craft. No one will accuse Wooden Indian Burial Ground of sounding slick, but they have fine ideas and the desire to do them right, and that puts this album a step ahead of the many lo-fi noisemakers following similar paths these days.

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