CD Beachwood Sparks (CD 760050),
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1. Desert Skies
2. Ballad of Never Rider
3. Silver Morning After
4. Singing Butterfly
5. Sister Rose
6. This Is What It Feels Like
7. Canyon Ride
8. Reminder, The
9. Calming Seas, The
10. New County
11. Something I Don't Recognize
12. Old Sea Miner
13. See, Oh Three
14. Sleeping Butterfly
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 503
Beachwood Sparks: Chris Gunst (vocals, guitar); Dave Scher (slide guitar, keyboards); Brent Rademaker (bass); Aaron Sperske (drums).
Producers: Beachwood Sparks, Michael Deming.
Personnel: Chris Gunst, Dave Scher, Aaron Sperske, Brent Rademaker (vocals).
Recording information: Studio 45.
Photographer: Autumn de Wilde.
No American Gothic frowns here; Beachwood Sparks are a godsend to those music fans who revere the Cosmic Country sound of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, but are put off by the dour indie dirges made by insurgent country acts in Gram Parsons' name. This LA quartet are all about sunny late '60s Cali harmonies, Bakersfield-influenced psychedelic country-pop jams, and a hippie disposition full of cinnamon pedal-steel and cowgirls-under-blue-sky daydreams. By infusing these retro images with a healthy dose of studio-generated post-rock sonics, Beachwood Sparks update Cosmic Americana for the modern age.
The keys to their sound lie in Dave Scher's facility with lap-steel guitar and organ, and in the band's full-bodied harmonies. These elements are constant, whether on a Tex-Mex cowboy jaunt like "Silver Morning After," on which the steel cascades in jamming waves, or on an arena-style power ballad like "The Reminder," where it softly underpins the harmonies. But the band's finest moments are when guitar and organ play off each other in a psychedelic country-pop vortex reminiscent of a more succinct Grateful Dead, as on "This is What It Feels Like," a ready-made soundtrack for a Topeka Canyon day trip.
Q (6/00, p.102) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...This is the best American rock debut since Outrageous Cherry's eponymous 1st album last century....a '60s-style band that also listens to Beck and the High Llamas..."
Magnet (1-2/01, p.44) - Included in Magnet's "20 Best Albums of 2000".
Magnet (4-5/00, p.66) - "...Picks up the melodies, instrumentation, mutton chops, mother-of-pearl buttons and tassled sleeves of California country/rock, and the jacket fits nicely....It's pretty..."
CMJ (4/00, p.44) - "...an extremely laid-back set of alt-country songs that are sometimes shot through with garage-y pep but that just as often bring to mind The Grateful Dead..."
Mojo (Publisher) (5/00, p.88) - "...Another lo-fi assemblage of pleasantly unassuming country rock....sounding more like Poco or Sopwith Camel than Buffalo Springfield or the Lovin' Spoonful."
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Sub Pop (USA) SPCD 503
Alternative Dis. Alliance
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