We can talk all we want about CDs being an absolutely dead format—that it’s all about vinyl or digital downloads these days. That’s fine. At the same time, I’ve always been about five years behind the curve—technologically and otherwise—and I pretty much adore every goddamn thing about this disc. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, it’s hand-numbered to 500 and comes in a beautiful chipboard package with black and blue silk-screens all over it. The booklet’s inlaid with vellum, and, not to get too corny, that kind of dreamlike obfuscation of the photos and lyrics absolutely matches the ethereal quality of the music. Again, this is coming from a dude who still thinks tapes rule, but there’s something admirable about the amount of stubborn care that was put into the physicality of this release. As far as the music itself, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Think of the solemnity of Iron And Wine colliding with the dark but somehow joyous angles of Arcade Fire. Throw in some cello, farfisa, and trumpet, take note that at their lyrical core, these are intensely personal protest songs that any punk band would probably be stoked to belt out, throw in the fact that they’re a DIY band, and you’re looking at a terrific pop record with a stunning but subtle melancholic undercurrent. I don’t know if this thing just hit me at the right time, but it’s one of the best things I’ve ever received for review.
–keith (Hillbilly Stew)