Steve Horowitz: Come fly with me on soft wings, what a lovely invitation to chill. The music repeats itself repeats itself as a way of making the vibe relaxing. The guitar, in particular, serves as a tour guide of the exotic calm places. The video offers us a view from the sky with no danger of falling or vertigo. [7/10]
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Timothy Gabriele: It was fitting that Karl Hyde’s last album was with Brian Eno because I always thought Underworld’s lyrics had an Eno-esque quality. On classic Underworld tunes like “Born Slippy” or “King of Snakes”, the words were more timbric and tonal than relatable, something Eno definitely strived for on his first three solo records. This is still the case with Underworld, but I think the band is struggling a bit now to decide who they are outside of the club/trance setting where that freewheeling Dadaist ping-pong poetry matches the most acutely. This new one”I Exhale” is slightly pub-ish, which would be an unusual landing point on the trajectory of a band that started as a new wave group (Freuer) who renamed themselves after a horror film they scored and eventually became one of the most recognizable names in ‘90s rave culture who then circled back into some “serious” soundtrack work for Danny Boyle films. And now onto electro-charged pub rock? Even for a band that doesn’t sit still much, it’s an awkward look for them. [4/10]
Florida’s the Currys prove that the most powerful musical harmonies often come from groups of family members, rather like the Avett Brothers and Jamestown Revival. Jimmy and Tommy Curry and cousin Galen Curry are the heart of the indie folk group with their tight as a rubber band, three-part harmonies. Emerging from the oyster bars and restaurants of the Florida Gulf Coast, the band recently headlined the Florida Folk Fest and have developed enough of a strong following that they were able to crowdfund their sophomore album West of Here, releasing in March. “If I Find It” is the first single from that upcoming release and it’s an infectious tune to say the least. We hope to see them at the Americana Festival in Nashville this fall.
San Francisco’s Panic Is Perfect are a pure pop band who pen super memorable hooks and create intricate layers of carefully composed music. Band member Mike Hoffman says, “We have a lot of multilayered arrangements in our songs, and almost everything we write features big hooks. Everything is catchy, but it’s also complex. The songs are approachable and memorable at the same time.” That’s the approach that leads to pop songs that last and stand the test of time. Panic Is Perfect is a pretty new group, with just a 2015 EP behind them, and so it’s pretty remarkable that their sound is already so fully formed. The group’s debut album, Cellspace, releases this Friday and look for big things from these guys as their songs are irresistible.