October 23, 2008

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The Little Ones, Morning Tide
Atlantic Records, street date unknown for Atlantic, import was released Oct. 7

Were this the ’70s, the track list of this album would have been sequenced backwards from the way it is, the giant-hook stuff first and the breezy, Buzzcock-limey-voiced quirk-alt last. Still, though, being a simple cross between Arcade Fire and the first Yes album, this has every college-rock thing going for it, and just to curse its success it’ll be placed high in my end-of-year list (unless I completely forget about it). Driving around half-paying attention to the first few songs, which I’d already decided were standard New Music Express-pimped TV dinners, I was suddenly clubbed over the head with a gorilla log when “Tangerine Visions,” the fifth track, ended abruptly, not with some weird tooty instrument or quirky, stupid curveball, but with a real-deal conclusion at the logical apex of a nice-enough hook, instruments and voice at peak and suddenly gone in a reverb vacuum as if the band were trying to impress a Columbia House rep from the 60s. What in tarnation, and then comes the delightfully overlong coda of “Everybody’s Up to Something,” a barn-piano hoedown that Arcade Fire would die for. Innocent, heart-tugging oldschool stadium roots-pop, simply great stuff. A — Eric W. Saeger