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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

The Channel
Personalized (CD)

I'm not sure if by the band name "Channel" this group is referring to their attempts to channel the ghosts of Brian Wilson and the Beatles into their soaringly high, harmony driven little pop tracks. But it sure seems like it. Personalized starts off with a sort of weird track that might be straight out of Slomo Rabbit Kick land, but the action soon turns elephantine. I mean Elephant 6. It's nearly impossible to avoid talking about how the band takes cues from that crowd, mostly The Apples in Stereo. And while certain songs like "Inhibition" and "Manhole" are somewhat forgettable for that respect, a song like "Follow You", with the thoughtful addition of tinkling xylophone and pretty female backing vocals, threatens to make me a very happy camper. This song reminded me a lot of Quasi, who seem to have an indie patent on that major to minor resolution which is present in this song.

Similarly pleasant is the waltz-time "Old Mary Weather" which sounds like the sadly defunct Masters of the Hemisphere. Like any good indiepop fan, I like my occasional dose of E6, but it's nice to get a band that is willing to stray from the familiar patterns that those bands utitlize. At least some of the time. When I heard the album closer, "Black", I immediately thought "Palace Brothers". Sure enough, this porch rocker is a wonderful cover of Will Oldham nee Bonnie Prince Billy or whatever name he's using nowadays. The brothers Pennington have wisely not limited their world view to a Beach Boys revival perspective, and for that their album gets a higher recommended rating than it might otherwise.

- review by SHORTY (1.26.05)        

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