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Album Review

With touring guitarist Jeff Palmer now a permanent member of the band, the Radar Bros. refashioned themselves as a quartet for 2008's Auditorium. Apart from the expanded lineup, however, nothing much else has changed, since the Bros. still sound too languid to venture outside their slowcore comfort zone. They excel at crafting dreamy ballads that owe as much to sedatives as Pink Floyd's "Breathe," complete with sleepy-eyed synth swells and jarring, left-field lyrics ("I keep drinking your tailgate piss, it's you I miss"). The shtick is still effective, but it's also old, as this is the same recipe the Radar Bros. used to cook up their four previous slabs of half-baked indie rock. Like Codeine on codeine, Auditorium could nicely orchestrate a lazy afternoon spent sleeping in the summer sun, yet the album mostly sounds too leisurely for its own good. Songs meld together, guitar lines fade from memory, and melodies drift in one ear and out the other. There's little diversity here to jar the listener awake, only pleasantly smooth tunes for those seeking to turn on, tune in, and drop out. Returning fans with an insatiable craving for new material won't necessarily be crushed, but those seeking to delve into the band's catalog would do better to pick up 2002's And the Surrounding Mountains, where the songs climb skyward before crashing back to mundane sea level.

Auditorium, Radar Brothers
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