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White Flight

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Album Review

What does White Flight sound like? What doesn't he sound like? White Flight, otherwise known as Justin Roelofs (dreadlocked UFO fantasist and former member of Kansas' the Anniversary), sounds like a mash-up of Devendra Banhart, the Flaming Lips and Beck. In other words, Roelofs sounds a lot like Animal Collective, only funkier. White Flight drifts into sparkly indie pop à la Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots ("Pastora Divine"), only to shift gears and drive into patchouli-scented, Banhart-esque acoustic bliss ("Solarsphere") and then veer into crispy, greasy stoner hip-hop (on one of the album's best tracks, "Deathhands"). It's full of anvil-heavy bass beats, funky-ass Muppet vocals, and scrunchy horn sections, and all of it sounds unabashedly homemade. This isn't to say that the album is guilty of insularity or naval-gazing. Sure, there are a whole lot of vocal over-dubs, found sound, and gaudy instrumentation, and on tracks like "The Secret Sound" (a swamp awash in vocoders and horns) it's tempting to dismiss Roelofs' project as just another bedroom studio vanity project. But if the album is indulgently lo-fi, and if the lyrics can be almost ridiculously hippy-dippy ("Listen, lion! Educate your children!"), you can't deny a good hook when you hear it. There's a real sense of fun here, especially on bouncy, crunchy tracks like "The Condition" and "Now," and that's what makes White Flight one of 2007's strangest, scariest, and most weirdly addictive independent releases to date. No kidding.

Biography

Formed: Kansas City, KS

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Striking out on his own after a stint with Lawrence, KS' the Anniversary, Justin Roelofs (aka White Flight) released his self-titled debut on his homegrown label, Range Life, in 2006. The album, a psychedelic affair that mixed ambient pop sensibilities (à la the Flaming Lips) with...
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