[6 March 2007]
Like Texan psychedelic pioneers the 13th Floor Elevators, Austin-based band the Summer Wardrobe enjoy melding traditional country instruments into a heady brew of trippy cerebral soundscapes they like to call “ambient southern rock”. Where the Elevators centred their music on the rhythmic transcendental whoop of Tommy Hall’s one-and-a-half-gallon aluminium jug, these guys create jangly-psych-pop that surges and twists around the otherwordly reverberation of John Leon’s pedal steel guitar, accompanied by the breathless tenor vocals of Jon Sanchez and some astute guitar work. And with a debut album that is conveniently split down the middle, you are at liberty to choose between a first half of lush, slow-burning post-psych-guitar gems that call to mind bands like Lloyd Cole and the Commotions (opener “Ned Kelly”) and the down-under smarts of the Church (“Underground”), or if you’re in a more laid-back mood, the languorous, melodic spells woven by seven-minute-plus epics that make up the second portion of the disc such as “Outcry in the Barrio” which evokes Pink Floyd in their early ‘70s heyday. A quietly thrilling listen and a hearty howdy from stoner “country”.