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9 Distilled Dreams

Elope

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Album Review

Recorded during the same sessions as the 2006's 3WD, Swedish stoner rock trio Elope's 9 Distilled Dreams forgoes the bluesy, Cream-influenced psychedelic rock of its predecessor for bluesy, Cream-influenced psychedelic folk. Shades of Neil Young, Ian Matthews, the Byrds and the Band permeate this sparse, spooky, and surprisingly effective collection of moody, San Francisco Bay-inspired '60s jams. Far less redundant than the previous sentence implies, 9 Distilled Dreams charts its own course with a familiar vehicle. The band never overplays, choosing instead to build acoustic walls of pure atmosphere that seem to fade into each song like a fog. Opener and album highlight "Black Eyed Citizen," a midtempo dirge as catchy as it is brooding, is the litmus test for all that follows. Insistent, dark and hypnotic, it begs for repeated plays. "No Don't" is pretty and sad in that late-'60s Zombies kind of way, the "Core" echoes Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young camped out at the bottom of a fjord, and closer "Not Even Close" sounds like a lost Neil Finn track, resulting in a quietly majestic collection of audio snow globes that are both familiar and otherworldly at the same time. The band has captured a moment in time that may not necessarily be theirs, but they belong there nonetheless.

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