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The Channel

Tales From the Two Hill Heart / Sibylline Machine

(C-Side; US: 8 Aug 2006; UK: Unavailable)

If the Elephant 6 collective hadn’t pretty much just disappeared from the stage (when the hell is that Circulatory System album coming out, again?), I would be a lot more upset about how badly the Channel rips off that whole psychedelic bubblegum aesthetic. But in the absence of all those other groups, these guys turn out to be pretty likable. The album is split into two CDs, one for each of the two principal songwriters, but Colby Pennington’s songs sound a whole lot like Jamie Reaves’ songs to me, and they could have just mixed them up and put them on one disc like Olivia Tremor Control used to do. These tunes float sometimes on layers of proggy vocals (“Up on the Hill”), incorporate organ drones into Beatles-esque pop (“Besides/Ohio”), and even go all alt.jangle on us (“New Mexican Arcade”). A lot more pretension than necessary, but I love pretension so I will call this still kind of adorable.

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