steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The World Palestine

"Let's See Star B" CDR

Mayhaps Records

Genre: experimental rock, indie rock, indie pop

Wichita, KS

October 2009

In spite of lo-fi recording conditions, The World Palestine's Les Easterby has created a brilliantly expansive and unpredictable album with Let's See Star B. It is home-produced efforts like this that leave one imagining what might have happened had the artist been given a high-calibre studio to record in.

Easterby's songwriting tends towards atmospheric, multi-chaptered epics. His songs are unquestionably his own creations, dense with samples and multiple layers of sound - and while occasionally they can become long-winded or lose focus, I would be hard-pressed to isolate any substantial chunk of this album that I don't find supremely enrapturing.

With that all said, The World Palestine must be regarded as an album band. Let's See Star B is made of songs, but should only really be digested whole - its compositions ebb and evolve from one another, like a sort of home-made progressive rock album. Perhaps influenced by those legendary prog artists of yore, Easterby also employs studio trickery as a means of producing art, constructing Star B with judicious use of overdubs and samples.

Be forewarned: this album is, at times, unpolished. But also be aware that this is an album that justifies all that rhetoric about the wonders of readily-accessible home-recording equipment and the supposedly "empowered independent musician" that has resulted. Right from the insanely blissful opener, Easterby's vision is made clear - lo-fi recording be damned, this record is designed to be a rich, dynamic epic. The track frames a spoken word sample within a lush, melodic background of programmed rhythms, vocal harmonies, and keyboards.

The rest of the album alternates from vibrant to pensive, often within the same track. "King Me and Princess Die," for example, is a beautiful bit of sorrowful synth-pop, while I hear the spirit of Hopewell and Pink Floyd in the cataclysmic space-rock of "Everything Breaks / Nothing Works." The record's hidden gem is the intensely catchy "Like a Story of (An Imaginary Girl)" and its Brian Jonestown Massacre inspired night-driving climax. The variety of styles encompassed by the songs permits one to stay engaged from the start all the way to the thirteen minute finale, which weaves through a whole medley of sounds - including crashing guitar anthemism, Beach Boys-esque harmony, and atmospheric ambience.

Taken together, I strongly believe that if it weren't for the lo-fi recording conditions, this album could be an indie success in the vein of Animal Collective and Deerhoof. Easterby's album isn't as abstract and experimental as said acts, but it's still a decidedly unique and epic work of avant-rock.

the world palestine's myspace

Michael Tau

[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2009]