Lab Partners - Review for Wicked Branches:
Venus Magazine

Lab Partners
Wicked Branches (Reverb)
by Anne Johnson

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.

Wicked Branches 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.