This tape-hiss guitar pop sounds less like a band following in Guided by Voices' shadow and more like a full-hearted, and very solid, homage.
It won't come as a shock to hear that Todd Tobias, Robert Pollard's right-hand man in the studio, mixed Electric Worrier, the second offering of lo-fi pop from New Jersey's Graham Repulski. The album doesn't sound like it was influenced by early Guided by Voices so much as it seems assembled from the same tapes in the same Dayton basements. It wasn't, of course, but this tape-hiss guitar pop -- with its vague nods to prog and Brit-pop -- sounds less like a band following in Pollard's shadow and more like a full-hearted homage. Lucky for Graham Repulski, the band is awfully good at what they do. The sharp guitars of "Hunt Them" and "Crab Feast" reach through the gauzy fidelity with bracing energy. There are moments when the band steps surely out onto its own ground, such as the clattering tension of "Molten Girls, Iowa" or the shimmering, slacker instrumental that is "Kickface". In these moments, they sound like fresh-faced, noise-pop outliers. But there are also a number of acoustic clips that sound too much like "Gold Heart Mountaintop Queen Directory" to fully leave the Guided by Voices comparison behind. The album is still impressive in its breezy 20-plus minutes, but what's really striking are the moments when you realize how great Graham Repulski will be when they fully embrace their eccentricities.