Sonic Reducer: Micro Reviews Of Young Buffalo, Crystal Antlers And Pink Skull

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The debut of this trio from Mississippi has five clever tracks. The first, “Only We Can Keep You From Harm,” opens like a railroad work song with wailing voices and a stomping rhythm, then bursts into indie rock. It’s the standout piece, but snappy percussion layers and strong vocal harmonies lift every bit of the album. There’s nothing groundbreaking about “Young Von Prettylips,” but it’s a good time from an energetic new band. Any of these ditties could be the soundtrack to a Jetta commercial where cool twentysomethings stick their hands out of windows. (SO)

Crystal Antlers Two-Way Mirror (

Upon first impression, this Long Beach five-piece sounds like emo revival. Blame it on the Braid-like vocals, rapidly alternating time signatures and heavy use of crash cymbals. Further into the album, it’s more like an exercise in post-rock, complete with electronic interludes, discordant saxophone parts and psychedelic organ solos. The title track is a pulsing, ambient cacophony with surf rock underpinnings. After Touch and Go downsized and dropped the band from the label, Crystal Antlers put out Two-Way Mirror independently—a task at which it has clearly succeeded, and with panache. (JCC)

Pink Skull Psychic Welfare (RVNG Intl.)

The first song of substantial length on this release is “Hot Bubblegum,” and it’s annoying—this goes for every track with singing. The vocal cadence is unpleasant and the lyrics are silly. The rest of the third studio album from Philadelphia electronic outfit Pink Skull—about half—is spacey chill music with a Kraftwerk vibe. There are also fun song titles here: “Either the Luminescent Wallpaper Goes, Or I Do,” “Human Hair Disco” (a house jam—the best item on Psychic Welfare ) and “Chicken Bone Beach.” (JCC)

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