The Brave and the Bold mines every decade from the '70s to the present, and some efforts seem effortless. Check Springsteen's "Thunder Road," re-envisioned as some Pink Floyd-ish set of synth-heavy histrionics. Or the Minutemen's "It's Expected I'm Gone," a feedback-friendly sludgefest. But Don Williams's "Poncho" is an unfathomable, sentimental weeper.
Richard Thompson's "Calvary Cross" takes the cake. Beginning as layered funereal organs and pinpricked guitars, the tune grows slowly, a meditation in process. Oldham's voice occasionally falters, but it sounds perfectly intentional. Luckily, his perfection here is the cross we bear. -- Carey Murphy
The Earlies & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp;RD_PARM1=http%3A%2F%2Fphobos.apple.com%2FWebObjects%2FMZStore.woa%2Fwa%2FviewAlbum%3Fp%3D79704909%26s%3D143441%26partnerId%3D30 & quot; & These Were the Earlies & lt;/a & 3 1/2 STARS & r & These Were the Earlies is a combination of the band's first self-released singles and subsequent EPs. The band members currently reside in Europe and Texas (half the band is from Europe, half from the United States) combining their Pond-spanning musical talents and influences into something that reflects Polyphonic Spree, Mercury Rev, the Byrds, the Beatles and the Beach Boys.
It's difficult to admit that I enjoyed this album (because I strongly dislike Polyphonic Spree), but it's still impressive -- not because of the band's diverse musical influences but because they successfully blend a wide variety of sounds such as piano, drums, horns, stringed instruments and layered vocals, creating a melodic, musical melting pot of sounds.
It's a hypnotic-psychedelic-electronica-country-esque combination of the band's influences. This may sound like the recipe for a disastrous album, but quite the contrary -- the Earlies have succeeded in creating an obscure but melodic and soothing album. These Are the Earlies is perfect background music. -- Tegan Menzer