CARI CLARA: Miniature American Model Society: CD

Odd, shambling, quirky indie rock which veers from flanged distortion to gentle melodies. To get an idea of the kind of broad, sweeping musical spectrum this record covers, it incorporates elements of psychedelia, power pop, rock, electronica—and that’s literally the tip of this iceberg. I can hear Big Star, Primal Scream, the Butthole Surfers, Pavement… this list could go on, but what it boils down to is that there are only a handful of contemporary artists that are this ambitious and diverse (two that spring to mind are The Beta Band and Simian). When most songs start, I haven’t the slightest clue where they’re going because, as Cari Clara proves in “We’re the Pollution,” they can transform a song that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a lo-fi Guided By Voices record to a soothing, droning, indie rock gem which reminds me of Radiohead in one beat. I won’t even bother with classifications (except to tell you that this isn’t even close to punk or emo or anything like them), because the only way I can really explain this is noting that it’s perfect for a long summer drive through the desert with the top down and the radio up when no other cars are around. It’s expansive enough to fill that space. Chalk this disc up as a hugely unexpected surprise, which is surprisingly good.

 –scott (Tiberius)