Monday, June 13, 2005

Memory Column: Early Works and Rarities 1996-2004
released: May 16, 2005
rating: ****

Auburn Lull
Regions Less Parallel: Early Works and Rarities 1996-2004
released: May 16, 2005

Two stellar, dreamy bands. Each with a compilation of their impossible to find, non-album tracks released by Darla. A cause for a double review? You're darn right.

Mahogany, the more pop-oriented of the two, is probably one of the prettiest things you'll hear. Like, ever. Their control of spacious guitar effects and synthesizer, blended with cutesy, high-octave girl vocals is a lost art. And the fact that they're from New York City (originally Michigan) is reason to appreciate them even more, given the enormous number of rock bands from NYC that play, well, just plain rock. The only problem with Mahogany is that they haven't released a full-length since 1999's Dream of a Modern Day, a wondrous work that's still a highlight in the wave of recent shoegaze and dreampop bands. We still have to be patient while they put the finishing touches on their next proper album, so thank goodness that at least Memory Column became a reality. This two-disc collection, all 20 tracks of it, is just as brilliant as anything on Dream. Enveloping you like a warm, soft blanket, the pieces are too soothing to even bother wondering what the hazy lyrics are or when a verse starts and a chorus ends. All you can really do is lay back, look through a kaleidoscope and take in its rapturous beauty.

After the absolutely gorgeous Alone I Admire, Auburn Lull had a lot to live up to. As a result, follow-up Cast from the Platform couldn't match its predecessor, nor take the band in any new directions. Regions Less Parallel, a collection of non-LP work, is, well, more of the same: quiet vocals, guitars drenched in atmospherics and gentle (REALLY gentle) percussion. Don't get the wrong idea, it'll be perfect for meditation and yoga. It's just that we've already heard this, and with better dynamics, on Alone I Admire. -- Kenyon Hopkin

similar: Lush, Flowchart, Saloon, All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors, Lali Puna, Flying Saucer Attack, Transient Waves
styles: Dream Pop, Ambient Pop, Indie Electronic
Buy directly from Darla.

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