Hidden Speaker: The Brittle Stars

The Brittle Stars (Seventy-Seven)

Hidden Speaker

The Brittle Stars (Seventy-Seven)

Sometimes an album comes out of nowhere and seems like it's been there your whole life. Meet Hidden Speaker. Arising from the remnants of Austin's Springhill Mine Disaster, who put on one of 1997's best rock shows one beer-sodden Friday night at the 21st St. Co-op, this trio -- guitarist/singer Evan Dickson, bassist Josh Lambert, and drummer Toto Miranda -- ambitiously aims for a spot in the Sonic Youth/Yo La Tengo firmament, and fits the mold like a pair of leather pants. (Dashes of Lou Reed and the Grifters add extra flavor.) Expertly recorded by John Croslin, The Brittle Stars is an afternoon spent in front of a rainy window, idly strumming a guitar while daydreaming about past lovers and faraway places. The fantasia effect of the guitars is as soothing as a hand stroking the back of your neck, framed in a neat little box by the rhythm section's droll, understated precision. Titles like "My Suite at the Bar Au Lac" and "16 Out of 20 Snakes Are Born Invisible" may appear off-putting, but the music is so warm and accommodating that Dickson's deadpan delivery of his inscrutable magical-realist lyrics serves as the guidebook to this enchanted world the band has created. Here's hoping Hidden Speaker doesn't stay hidden for long.

***.5

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