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Information Changer

Information Changer
(Absolutely Kosher)

With the release schedule that the group Eltro has planned, it's going to make them seem like one of the busiest bands on the scene. Although their Velodrome album came out just last year, they've already nearly completed the follow-up to that release and will be taking on a tour to support it. In the meantime, Information Changer arrives as a fix for those who can't get enough of the group.

Originally released back in 1998, this (their debut) sold out a limited run on the small Miner Street label from their hometown Philadelphia. The release stirred up a small buzz for the group, caught the ear of Absolutely Kosher owner Cory Brown, and set them on their current course (the future of which includes the aforementioned follow-up, tour, and a music video with big-time names). Although there aren't enough stylistic differences in Information Changer and Velodrome that fans of either wouldn't like the opposite, there is enough of a difference to show a major progression for the group.

The most noticible change is Information Changer takes much longer in getting to where it wants to go. Although the album is well over 50 minutes long, it is comprised of only 7 tracks, most of which hover in the 7 minute range. There's much more of a drone element on the disc, and although there are still some slight Stereolab references, the group has more in common with spaced-out groups like Bardo Pond or early Bowery Electric. Opening with "Storm Cloud Of The Century," things get moving with a sputtery drum machine, trippy keyboards and quiet looped guitars, changing only subtlely over its almost 8 minute run time.

On the following track "Grand Canyon," the group cranks up the guitars a bit and adds some real drums to the programmed ones, swirling into a shimmery shoegaze territory, again taking their time in getting anywhere while letting singer Diana Prescott add dreamy vocals over everything. On a track that falls closer to their newer sound, "Elements Of Style" moves along with a funky bassline and some combo programmed/real drums as Prescott's vocals are flanged and filtered to sound underwater. A pop song with a long length, it rambles on a bit too long to keep interest levels up.

The album closes out with the 14-minute long "I Begin To Believe," and despite the epic length, it's one of the most interesting tracks on the entire release. Moving along with the pace of a nice waltz, it mixes subtle percussion, intertwining guitar melodies, and multi-tracked vocals for a soothing and lovely closing track. In comparison to Velodrome, it's easy to hear that Information Changer is indeed the debut. Tracks wander around a little more and their aren't as many hooks, but there are definitely moments of elegance that peek through. Hearing this release, it also makes me even more curious to see which direction their third album takes.

Rating: 6.25