Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sit Outside and Dream review

Originally published in Scene Magazine, September 2008

CD: Sit Outside and Dream
Artist: WoolEye

Ever since Hendrix rocked 20 arms on the cover of Axis: Bold As Love, Hindu imagery has been psychedelic rock’s colorful totem. But don’t let the Tridevi on the cover of WoolEye’s latest effort fool you; the trippiness comes in bits and pieces.

While the far-off space guitar is present in a handful of tracks, Sit Outside and Dream is dominated by a boppy jazz rock sound, heard across the synth landscapes and hooky keyboard. What lifts WoolEye above the archetypal fusion four-piece is a willingness to dabble in genres far outside their range without compromising their jazz-based approach. Most of the time, it works.

Try the neon bluegrass sound of “Cherokee Bill” – though the lyrics feel uninspired, there’s something surprisingly fun about the rocking electric piano and guitar bridges.

The Technicolor techno-pop of “New York Spinnit” is aural deliciousness. The succulent synth keys bubble when mixed with vocalist Michael Rouse’s rock n’ roll drawl. It’s speedy and clever and catchy as hell. “Tune For The Sun” is another ├╝berfun stretch with vocals and piano embracing an Elton John elegance.

Occasionally, the genre-bending polish wears off and leaves the listener with a failed experiment - the stiff dub rock of “Snapback Fission” - or peculiar contemporary rock that takes way too long to pay off - the itchy “New Dawn Plowing”, which takes off about four minutes in, when the instrumentation picks up on that psychedelic flavoring mentioned earlier.

But you gotta give it to them; Sit Outside and Dream proves that as long as it fits, it doesn’t have to belong.

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