Lab Partners - Review for Wicked Branches:
When critics throw
around words like "epic" to describe a band's sound, it could
very easily turn off some people - permanently. Such language has been
following Dayton, Ohio's Lab Partners since their 2002 debut, Daystar,
and would not be inappropriate when referring to their latest release,
Wicked Branches. For Lab Partners, the word is more a descriptor of
their fertile, intricately layered, dreamy space pop that is, well,
epic in scope. So temporarily forget any prog-rock associations you
may have with the word - at least in this case.
is certainly epic in length at a startling 59 minutes with frontman
Michael Smith himself admitting the songs are long. Their length, however,
does not feel indulgent. It simply feels as though something must be
worked out musically before each song concludes. Every track is like
an island unto itself and the album an archipelago connected by sonic
sound bridges. Lab Partners have no bass player but keyboardist Amy
Smith and drummer Todd Carll marvelously create enough bottom to ground
the musical orbits of guitarist Mike Volk.
Lab Partners have been compared to everyone from My Bloody Valentine and early Verve to Spacemen 3 and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Though they have not really discovered any new galaxies musically, Wicked Branches is more than a solid effort.