Lassie Foundation / Duraluxe

Lassie Foundation / Duraluxe

I Duel Sioux and the Ale of Autumn

Grand Theft Autumn

Lassie Foundation and Duraluxe team up with a bevy of melody-conscious tunes that might out-duel any Sioux. Unlike many lopsided split CDs, both bands are talented. Among the six songs they offer up apiece, there’s ne’er a dull moment. Lassie and Duraluxe also sound enough alike that their pairing is not incongruent. Obviously, both bands step into the studio wearing their influences with pride. Yet, their high levels of retro-awareness do not preclude originality. Their refreshing uniqueness is displayed throughout.

Lassie Foundation’s lead man, Wayne Everett, is California obsessed. From his vocal’s striking resemblance to Brian Wilson’s to the names of earlier releases — California, Pacifico, El Ray, El Dorado — Lassie is the Golden State incarnate. On this split CD, Lassie’s lilting “Good Times Comin’ My Way” and “Look All Ways” prove the brilliance of their spectacular left coast pop. Though most of their songs are fairly simple in structure, each has a changing mood, a dramatic build that is strikingly effective. This is perhaps most evident on the airy “The Psalm of the Strongest Man.” This tune morphs from a sparse, Jesus and Mary Chain meets Beach Boys march into a dense and swirling anthem. Some of these songs are nearly as stupendous as those on Lassie’s standout El Ray EP.

Duraluxe begins their side of the split with a stunningly melancholic pop number. “Ruled By Fear” sounds like a more pop-friendly Tripping Daisy or Flaming Lips playing one of John Lennon’s sorrowful tunes. Their collage of influences makes for interesting listening. Oddly enough, “Hit So Hard” evokes the latest U2, as well as Psychedelic Furs and Bright Eyes. Most importantly, though, Duraluxe pull off unlikely combinations with superb style. Though Duraluxe spent a great deal of time in Athens, Georgia, they’re rarely as bound by genre as so many of their neighbors are. Not a bad thing at all.

Needless to say, this is an outstanding split CD.

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