Once synonymous with the post-rock hybrid and its indulges into pretentious mechanics, the Thrill Jockey label has shed itself of its countless Tortoise side-project excursions over the years and has expanded into a prolific aesthetic menagerie, ranging from the free jazz gale-force blows of Fred Anderson to the dusty countrified roads of Giant Sand. Recently, this Chicago-based imprint has delved into the Curtis Mayfield-influenced soul musings of the National Trust, releasing potentially the most sex-inducing album you will hear this year (Dekkagar). Now, a mere couple of months later, Thrill Jockey has thrust upon us yet another impeccable slice of vinyl, the sunbathed ‘70s style pop dreamscape that is Archer Prewitt’s Three.
Already a fixture in the indie community as a member of the jaunty electronic-tinged popsters the Sea and Cake, as well as a proven solo artist in his own right, Prewitt’s Three, not unlike fellow Chicago native Jim O’Rourke’s own Bacharach-styled songwriting ventures such as Eureka, wafts a delicate blend of serene orchestral pop that is downright majestic from the get-go.
Echoing the sunny disposition of its fluorescent cover art, Prewitt’s recipe of liquidy-smooth voice, infectious guitar hooks, and soaring arrangements results in feel-good-all-over tingles, and the opening track “Over The Line” details all the lovely elements to perfection. An elastic guitar riff percolates before segueing into a sensuous harmonica-fueled massage, nearly approaching pastures Neil Young roams. But Prewitt’s heart rests on iridescent pop, not stoner country, and “Over the Line” is a ringing endorsement of that. The song shimmers and glows in soothing, epical fashion, resonating with magical poptones. The synth-driven pop sparkles of “Tear Me All Away” conjures images of an indie rock James Taylor, sans the cheesiness, while “When I’m With You” chugs along on an addictive, driving guitar hook recalling Luna’s 1992 classic “Slash Your Tires”. And don’t think the heavenly pop universe ends there. Prewitt doesn’t waste a second of Three’s near-hour length, filling it with an affinity of bouncy rhythms and pop goodness, in turn eclipsing the output of many of his underground rock contemporaries.
With an orchestral backdrop and hook-laden guitar collages reminiscent of crystal clear blue skies, Archer Prewitt’s Three boldly transcends that of the indie rock norm (all the post-what have you’s), creating a thing of masterful pop beauty that is not to be missed.