steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Where to Swim" CD

Parks and Records

Genre: indie rock

Portland, OR

January 2010

As might have been gleaned from my appraisal of their last album, I love these folks' sound. Keyboard-heavy, shady, and subtle, Carcrashlander's songs boast an insidious sort of infectiousness -- shifting melodic phrases combine with electric keys synergistically, eliciting irresistible, moody nuggets like blissful "Where to Swim" and noir-esque "Behind You in Line." Often it's the seemingly peripheral details that make these songs; the high-pitched synth squall melody of "Boatful of Buckeyes;" the unexpected but not-out-of-place bossa nova of the lion's share of "Windtunnel;" the tasty instrumental moments on the title-track. While some songs lack the immediacy of others, not one feels out of place -- unless you count the first 40 sea-shanty seconds of diversion "Rosie."

As one delves deeper into Where to Swim, it becomes apparent that mood and texture play just as much of a role in the songs' delectability as does melody. Frankly, these tracks are rarely tidbits of pop clarity -- they are alluring in their overall construction, but the hooks aren't especially overt. Nowhere is this better exemplified than on slow-rolling "Yellow Car Tides," which bewitchingly revels in a gradual haze of deep keys, eerie ambience, and deadpan-ish vocals. It's a subtle expedition, but one that sinks its claws in surprisingly deep.

carcrashlander's myspace

"Where to Swim":

Michael Tau

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