Mother Sun EP
After meeting at Duquesne University's School of Music -- and four years of fits and starts under the names Gremlins & Butterflies and Slur -- the trio now called Mother Sun has finally settled on a fairly coherent sound for its debut EP.
The three expansive tracks on this 24-minute EP find the musicians drawing on their classical composition training, as well as what must be an overwhelming admiration for the ambo-rock atmospheres of Radiohead. The reverbed vocals of guitarist Jonathan Cordle are front and center, sometimes harmonizing with themselves, while Julie Von Volkenburg provides lush keyboard accompaniment or hauntingly beautiful viola lines, and Christopher Haynes (a big IDM/electronica fan) slathers sweet synth layerings and churns out clinky Ableton beats with his laptop. Of course, as with almost every chamber-rock effort, there's an occasional xylophone or banjo, courtesy of Cordle.
If the group's obvious allusions to Pitchfork darlings like Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective and Efterklang go soaring over your head, don't worry. It should be easy for fortysomethings to spot the breathless similarities to older reference points such as the Cocteau Twins and Slowdive -- heck, even that "Life in a Northern Town" song by Dream Academy.
The EP's crowning glory is "Phantasmagoria," which builds into a chorus of angelic voices and chiming guitars while maintaining a proggy 7/8 time signature. It's easily as good as anything Sigur Rós has concocted lately, and deserves all of its eight minutes to be showcased on the air (yes, public radio, that means you).
The final song poses the question, "Will there be a music that we can dance to / something slow that our hearts can beat together / Boom boom boom we dance around the room." I think that Mother Sun has answered that question, and I can't wait to see what kind of full-length effort the group comes up with next.
Mother Sun EP release with Ekofield and Becoming Projections 8 p.m. Fri., April 24. Shadow Lounge, 5972 Baum Blvd., East Liberty. $5. 412-363-8277 or www.shadowlounge.net