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Imaginary Volcano

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Album Review

The Diminisher (aka David McDonnell) has done time in his fair share of experimental rock outfits (the Olivia Tremor Control, Icy Demons, Bablicon), so it comes as no surprise that his solo debut is as difficult to pigeonhole as it is to dislike. Things can get awkwardly lo-fi at times, but the arrangements are dense enough to hide the fact that this wasn't recorded at Abbey Road. Opener "Brooklyn's Sinking" sounds so much like its ominous title that you can practically feel Williamsburg sliding into the East River. Fueled by harpsichord and strings, it's sounds like Skylarking-era XTC stuck in an abysmal winter, but McDonnell's relatively non-dynamic vocals echo enough of the sunny psychedelia of the Elephant 6 collective that it's impossible not to grin your way through the wind and sleet. He picks up the pace on the polyrhythmic Flaming Lips-meets-Tom Waits boot-stomper "Trainstation," channels the urban chamber pop of fellow New Yorkers Rachel's on the rowdy title track, and brings the whole colorful affair to a close with the beautiful and dissonant instrumental "A Building Named Lucille."

Imaginary Volcano, The Diminisher
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