Beachwood Sparks

Beachwood Sparks

Make the Robot Cowboys Cry EP

Sub Pop

If what I’ve been hearing about Beachwood Sparks weren’t enough to get me to listen to this, the Jim Woodring artwork on the cover would have guaranteed it. What is within this EP is music that fits the title well, a set of mostly-melancholy, somewhat psychedelic/somewhat country songs. It takes a special knack to be downtempo, repetitive and still hold my attention, but Beachwood Sparks manage to do all three nicely.

The opening “Drinkswater” is over seven minutes of languorous, somewhat spooky melodies in harmonic falsetto, nestled in a glistening cascade of music. The other songs on this album neatly fall into a similar formula of slow-and-steady, marrying simple, classical American styles (The Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons) with some ear-opening production touches. With one exception — the closing “Ghost Dance 1492,” which delivers on the ’60s fuzz that is often passed along with the Beachwood Sparks name. A full-on raver that spans decades to remind me of The Lilys circa 1996, in other words, psych-pop so good it melts my ears. No surprise there, though… drummer Aaron Sperske still pulls double duty to this day with The Lilys. A deeply contemplative album with a rousing wake-up call at the end, so you can get up and either go to bed or play it again.

Sub Pop: http://www.subpop.com

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