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The Umbrella Sequence
Sparkler Cliché
Ohev Records

With all apologies to the band, a comparison must be drawn that will probably make most people groan: when first listening to the Umbrella Sequence's debut LP Sparkler Cliché, the first influence to jump out of the speakers are those ubiquitous Brits, Radiohead. Wait. Don't leave yet. It's all good news from here on out. For unlike those kings of morose misanthropy, the Umbrella Sequence doesn't wallow. They float. Elevated by wispy, drifting keys and lyrics that achieve an almost spiritual sense of poetry, yet firmly rooted by raw guitars, an intertwining rhythm section, and lead singer Ryan Rupprecht's sincere but fragile vocals, the music is suspended in an eternal dance between the celestial and the corporeal. In short, it's the stuff that sex is made of.

Don't take the analogy too far, though. Don't read words like "poetry," "eternal," and "celestial," and think Tennyson and Shelley. This isn't romance. This is love: beautiful, yes, but also messy, painful, and brutally honest. With lyrics like "I am a curse," you shouldn't expect a soundtrack for starry-eyed strolls down a tree-lined boulevard. This is music for people who embrace every aspect of life. More importantly, it's music that acts as a conduit, carrying the listener directly into an emotion or experience instead of forcefully cramming it down your throat. With such vividly descriptive lyrics and colorfully woven melodies, it doesn't have to. In this respect, they resemble a Dave Hickey story put to music, or Mogwai with lyrics.

Otherwise, it's somewhat difficult to place the Umbrella Sequence into a particular category. The "sounds like" game doesn't work very well with them, except under some vague, lazy "atmospheric pop/rock" heading. For only having been around for two years, these guys have quickly found their voice in the burgeoning Midwest indie rock scene. Not only have they released an EP and a full-length album, they've also released a feature-length DVD, showcasing their talent as a live act, a music video for "Pushing Nevada", and footage of the boys being boys. All they lack now are a couple of national tours under their belts to get this album out into the world. The people will listen.

- Emily Strong

Track list:
1. The Disappearing Line
2. Athena
3. Penny Blue
4. A Presswood Smile
5. So Shine Sunshine
6. About A Photograph
7. History in Colors
8. Water and Repeat
9. Re-entry Means Less
10. Waltz of Thaughme
11. The Glass Staircase

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