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Greater California
All The Colors
Subtitled Audio
www.greaterca.com


The rock world has never been more at a lack for brilliant jangle-pop than it is right now, at this very moment. And that is why the latest record from Southern California's Greater California comes as such a welcome treat. Not only does the music chime along with a happy streak that makes it a perfect summertime, sitting-on-the-patio album, but it is filled with a depth and musical sincerity that is overwhelmingly welcome in this day of indie-pop bands with vocalists unable to carry a tune or rock bands fronted by horrible, screaming emo-wondervoices. All The Colors is filled to bursting with jangling guitars, reverb-heavy vocal harmonies, and a decidedly Beach Boys bent. The songs all have a particular summer sounding sound, but with a darker, spookier side than the Wilson brothers ever provided the world. While the sound is flushed out with marimbas and piano at times, there are other spaces where 12-string electric guitar and grooving bass lines carry the day.

The album gets rolling with bang on the poppy title track, backed by bopping piano and lush vocal harmonies. Greater California not only establishes their sound immediately, but clears any doubts that they were weaned on Brian Wilson tunes and production. "Them The Downs" rocks things up a bit more, with tremelo-heavy guitars and a far more dynamic approach to song structure than anywhere else on the record, dispensing with the surf vibe for a space-rock sound with a propensity for heavy reverbs and eerily hung organs. There are times when the band invokes the spirit of 60's psychedelic rockers like The Zombies and others where the band approaches a classic shoegaze sound, fusing their bright pop with an airiness not unlike The Darkside or a weird edginess simlar to Spacemen 3. On "It's Great" the band even channels some of the early 90's Manchester vibe, sounding a bit like The Charlatans UK and a bit like a cleaner Ride… all mixed in with a ultra-jangly, psychedelic Byrds overtone. And later, on "Pacific Ave. Corridor" the band drops energy to an almost non-existent level and slowly charges ahead with a beautiful instrumental track filled with great resonance and depth before finishing up with the slow chimes of "The Soft Lights", another beautiful song that would fit in nicely next to Luna's slower, more spacey moments, until the song breaks loose with horns and echoing 12-string guitar riffs that float above a paisley-tinted bed of rock goodness. .

So… Are you in need of a great new summer record for 2009? Here it is. Go get it. Love it. Remember exactly why the world loved the Beach Boys so much, even without school fight songs and songs about big, fast American cars.

-Embo Blake

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