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Album Review

In the tradition of the Pixies and Pavement, Austin noise-pop quartet Peel's debut album subverts its catchy pop tunes with slatherings of lo-fi tape grot, feedback, tape loops and needling keyboards in the manner of Brian Eno's contributions to early Roxy Music. Singing guitarists Josh Permenter and Dakota Smith have the whole Stephen Malkmus can't-be-bothered mumble down cold, and songs like "Bells" and "Workers, Wake Up!" have the lysergic pop rush of classic Elephant 6 tunes. The thing is, while the band's antecedents and influences could not possibly be more obvious — mention should also be made of Chris Knox, both solo and with the Tall Dwarfs — these 11 songs are so charming in their exuberance and playfulness that charges of lack of originality are pretty much beside the point. Perhaps their next album will sound more like Peel and less like a giddy mishmash of the average aging hipster thirty-something's iPod, but in the meantime, this is a fun listen despite its flaws.

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Peel, Peel
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