Kelley StoltzCircular Sounds
  • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2008

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There should be a warning label adhered the cover of Kelley Stoltz latest offering Circular Sounds (Subpop) that reads something along the lines of “May Experience Déjà Vu Upon Listening”. The fourteen tracks are chocked full of the familiar sounds of albums from the late 1960s - which is only fitting considering Mr. Stoltz spends his days a clerk at a second-hand record store.

Recorded above a laundromat in the back room of his San Francisco apartment, Stoltz has crafted an album worthy of his influences, serving almost as a primer for the uninitiated. The opener “Everything Begins” is dripping with Pet Sounds-era Brian Wilson production - lush sun-baked harmonies, layered with horns – a theme and sound that is revisited throughout. While “Birmingham Eccentric” trucks along like a long lost track from the Nuggets collection, with it’s snappy garage rock sound. The middle section of the album is a straight up tribute to The Kinks. While deeper in “Your Reverie” manages to evoke the sounds of his hometown’s psychedelic ballroom era – with its acid soaked vocals and swirling B-3 organ. You can almost see hippies dancing, while a trippy light is being projected in your head.

As Circular Sound winds down Stoltz gets introspective with mellow love song “Something More” asking, “I think I lost you when the wall came closing in/And there must be something more I could do?” And the album closer “You Alone” is a dreamy Syd Barrett-esque freak-out with a collage of sounds and spooky vocals.

Stoltz manages to pull off the tough task of putting out an album that is firmly rooted in the familiar sounds of the past without sounding derivative. This is the type of record made for the music obsessive, who will enjoy picking it apart all while basking in gorgeously produced pop record. - Jeffrey Greenblatt
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