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Album Review

Pulling together a collection of often short, fragmentary songs that suggest techno less than Raymond Scott jazz or some of the more devolved moments of the Residents (minus vocals), Returns is clearly not for all. Possibly not even some Sack & Blumm fans, depending on their mood, but if titles like "Sparkman Smeargle" might give pause, the smooth trumpets (sort of) provide a relaxed enough listen. That song title does provide a hint of the other amusements included — other representative examples include "Swablu Brew" and "Skitty Flu Blaster" — but not everything is as goofy as the titles suggest. In ways this is almost one of the most surprising Beach Boys tributes ever — with no vocals, one often senses the kind of strange mix of styles that band had in the late '60s, from banjo to ambient washes and horns. Later bands like Talk Talk and any number of Chicago-based groups come to mind too but the artificially live interactions between the two performers exists in its own space and turns out very nicely.

Returns, Sack & Blumm
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