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Too Many Bricks And Not Enough Sea

Los Planetos Del Agua
Too Many Bricks And Not Enough Sea
(Antenna Records)

After listening to the opening track on Too Many Bricks and Not Enough Sea, you might think that Los Planetos Del Agua were going to yank the orchestral rock sound right out of Spiritualized book and continue steadily upward. "Here's To...Selfish Killers And Patriotic Whores" starts out with a quick burst of radio noise as a guitar ticks in the background and Jerry Hope adds spoken word vocals. The track gains in intensity as his lyrics continue along, getting more and more sordid, and eventually the track explodes into full-on guitar, buzzing keyboards, spooky theremin and blaring flugelhorn. It's a solid sonic assault, and interestingly enough, it's really the only one on the album, as the group then settles down into a more subtle sound for a good majority of the disc.

While the album doesn't drift completely into la-la land, it takes a much quieter road indeed from there on out. On both "Columbo" and "No Longer A Tourist," a subdued rhythm section sways back and forth while the flugelhorn is again back, this time providing the crux of the melodies with a warm brass sound. Tony Woodall takes over vocal duties on the former track, singing in a soft style that adds another nice human element to the mix without being overwhelming. On "We Celebrate the Absence Of Physics," the group takes on an absolutely slow-core pace, making like Low and allowing every single instrument to breath.

Just in case you start drifting off, though, the group adds another slight punch in the form of "Column A Column B" right in the middle of the disc. Riffing along with a more lo-fi sound than the rest of the album, it almost feels like a live track, as subtle echoes are heard in the somewhat thin recording style. After following up with another quiet instrumental, the group again kicks it up a notch with the epic-lengthed "Mercury 13." Clocking in at almost 10 minutes, the track works the whole quiet/loud dynamic in a great way, and although it takes its time at moments, ends up being one of the best tracks on the disc.

While the group throws out quite a few different styles over the course of the 48-minute album, it still manages to be fairly cohesive, although those hoping for minimal instrumentals will probably be a bit thrown-off by the louder moments. While the aforementioned "Column A Column B" is probably the least polished track on the album (sounding almost improvisational), the rest of the slightly veering disc shows a surprising amount of poise, even as the group tries their hand at different sounds. On the slower instrumentals, they sound a bit like Mogwai in their quieter moments, and when they're rocking out with Flugelhorn, Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized creep through. Definitely a solid debut.

Rating: 7.25