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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Espers
Espers
Locust Music

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Sprightly and confessional, the eponymous debut from Espers is a fine display of contemporary folk-pop. It is as bravely spooky as Kristin Hersh's Strange Angels, or the acoustic husks surrounding His Name Is Alive. While stark and Appalachian in places, the tracks reflect visions of tealeaves and old world beliefs.

Carried by the waiflike vocals of Meg Baird and the dusky, intermittent support of Greg Weeks, the disc is marked by intricacy, introspection and mythical transportation. While tracks do touch on sameness throughout, their marks of idiosyncrasy make the album a prized find.

"Byss & Abyss" bobbles in a thick, boggy liquid of Celtic flutes, and harbors a strange sound that drips with opium. It is a brittle balance of organic and psychedelic, and it is difficult to tell whether the subject is tortured or uplifted by the blurred line. Nevertheless, its uniqueness comes across as truly special.

Likewise, "Travel Mountains" is triumphant and grand in measure. Its medieval sound strikes squarely between a harpsichord and Spanish guitars, and the instrumentalism propels distinctly beautiful vocals into an undiscovered realm. In those noticeable touches of flamboyance and adventurism, the tracks go from wholly pretty, lofty folk to something of greater depth, and show the imagination and forward thinking of this three-piece.

While a disc covered entirely in eccentricity would likely be an overwhelming din, it would behoove Espers to venture more often outside of a comfortable folk box and embrace their peculiar strains. As it stands, these Philadelphian veterans are assuredly poised to adorn a new and interesting coat upon on folk-rock.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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