Lab Partners - Review for Wicked Branches:
Under the Radar

8 blips out of 10

(Summer 2005)

By Marcus Kagler

Don't you love it when an unknown band with real potential actually progresses? In 2003, the Dayton, Ohio quartet Lab Partners released their debut Daystar, one hell of an epic shoegazer album. But it was still just a shoegazer record. Their sophomore effort, Wicked Branches, finds Lab Partners carving their niche into the rock 'n' roll wall by putting the "rock" back in space rock. Although they still maintain their effects-pedal wall of sound, lead singer Mike Smith and company have learned to infuse the shoegazer sound with enough melodic drive and energy to make you want to get up and dance.

"Blood Moon" is straight up epic psychedelic rock with dissonant hooks and craftsmanship reminiscent of Northern Soul-era Verve. "Love Don't Care" possesses a deep bass groove fused with spacey Middle Eastern licks, while the rapid fade in & outs of "Tidal Wave" blink like a thousand stars. The future of space rock starts here. (