Lab Partners - Review for Wicked Branches:
Illinois Entertainer

Chicago

Lab Partners
Wicked Branches (Reverb)
by Jay Hedblade

Touted as leaders in the soon-to-be resurrected school of shoegazing (Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Curve), Lab Partners forsake their Ohio roots by emulating a fashion that got stranded somewhere on an mid-1990s English shore. But such classification is too simple a niche for these cats. For starters, there's far more emphasis on melody, and the pace is downright peppy when compared to their brooding British cousins of yore. Nonetheless, if swirling guitar figures and airy vocals are your thing, Lab Partners might inspire a fresh visit to those unjustly overlooked House of Love discs lining the closet. Once past the driving, stylistically unique "Now" and the sublime "burning Fields," however, it's clear contemporary Brits such as Doves are traveling similar territory with far more aplomb. So don't fire up the smoke machines and oil lamps just yet; the Madchester revival comes first.