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The Curse of the New Planet Trampoline

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Album Review

Part of the circle of psych-inspired bands revolving around the axis of the Volta Sound, New Planet Trampoline features two of said group's members in slightly different roles. Matt Cassidy, guitarist in the Volta Sound, handles lead vocals as well here, while Ben Gmetro exchanges his guitar for organ. The rhythm section of Dave Molnar and Charlie Druesdow fills out the lineup, and on their full-length debut the quartet creates an enjoyable, sun-kissed/sun-dazed take on dreamy psychedelia. Where the Volta Sound leans more towards shoegaze and Spacemen 3-obsessiveness, New Planet Trampoline's songs generally either aim for the prettier and ambling, or the more raved-up and fun, with Gmetro's candy-colored organ the secret weapon in keeping the tone trippily playful either way. "Nag Champa" is utterly suffused with drifty, keyboard-led good times — the oil projections on the wall can easily be envisioned. Other hazy songs like "Mr. and Mrs. Watterson," the mid-'80s XTC-resembling "Fishbone Song," and, in their closest similarity to the Volta Sound, the moody lope of "Skeleton Key" all appeal on the calmer front. It's not always a soft trip, though, when the band turns the country/rave-up "Northwestern Woodpecker" into a full-on rock rager in the instrumental break, it's a great moment of drama. The great freak-out of "Gimme a Moment," and the rambling charge of "ESP Medallion" — perhaps the best title on an album full of fine ones — also add to the fun, adding both variety and energy. Cassidy's singing can at times not totally connect — sounding maybe more of a parody rather than a celebration — but his energetic shout on "Northwestern Woodpecker" and his enticing harmonies on the concluding "Fake-Ass Moon," a reflective ballad of sorts, shows he's got the right skills. Meanwhile, his stellar guitar playing on "Whirlpool Clyde" (matched by fine martial drums from Druesdow) is worth attention on its own.

The Curse of the New Planet Trampoline, New Planet Trampoline
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