PopMatters home | short takes home | archivesPopMatters Music Short Takes
Palaxy Tracks, Cedarland (Peek-A-Boo)
Throw Radiohead on my card table and I'll raise you Palaxy Tracks. This cheeky, Britpop-infected band out of Austin, Texas delivers the ghost-themed tunes on its latest release, Cedarland, with a kind of gentle complacency rarely seen in latter-day pop. The album is a deliriously confident mix of eerie instrumentals and spooky songs fusing modern pop beats with more traditional country jams via mandolins, a banjo, a lap steel, and (believe it or not) a musical saw. It all blends superbly to create a rare, sophisticated mood, with singer Brandon Durham's vocals appropriately eloquent and brooding. The band's first release since relocating to Chicago (their debut, The Long Wind Down, won the Austin Chronicle's Best Texas Record award in 2000) works as a genuine standout of melancholy rock, not to mention as an awesome soundtrack to a fevered game of shadow tag.