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Sound Check

Feb 2, 2012
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By Chad Taylor
soundcheck@dmcityview.com

The Well Pennies

‘The Well Pennies [EP]’

Independent

Clips

How cynical are you? The answer to that question will go a long way to determining how you view The Well Pennies. You’ll either see them as a refreshing folk/pop blend, or Mumford and Sons crossed with a Target commercial; as a talented duo who create music that’s light, upbeat and joyous, or as a couple of inoffensive-but-bland retreads who have produced a ready-made Starbucks soundtrack. Either way, it’s hard to argue with where their hearts are: Bryan Vanderpool and his wife, Des Moines native Sarah, wear their love of this project on their sleeve, and it’s apparent in everything from the lyrics, to the melodies, to the instrumentation. The result is an EP that’s sound is clean, unencumbered and easy to listen to. Or sterile, safe and the musical equivalent of a Stepford Wife. So, how cynical are you? CV

Of Montreal

‘Paralytic Stalks’

Polyvinyl

Clips

You can like Of Montreal if you want to, but they’re not going to make it easy. Wildly creative, extremely talented and more willing to experiment with their sound than maybe any band outside of the Flaming Lips, Of Montreal always tempers that musical goodness by coating it in a thin veneer of pretention. It doesn’t ever feel like they release an album, so much as tolerate fans looking over the band’s shoulder at what they’ve created. Paralytic Stalks is wonderful. It’s poppy, trippy and sports a lush, dynamic and wide-ranging sound. But it’s also saddled with song titles like “We Will Commit Wolf Murder” and lyrics like “into some ancient reptilian form like an agnostic transubstantiation/Don’t know what that is (use your imagination).” I’ve never wanted to punch a band this good in the face so hard in my life. CV

Want your new CD reviewed? Email us a link at soundcheck@dmcityview.com or mail a physical copy to: Cityview, 414 61st Street, Des Moines, IA 50312.



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