Reviewed by Michael Chamy, Fri., June 27, 2003
Palaxy TracksCedarland (Peek-a-Boo) Beneath the piano and cut-up drum tracks, creeps a low monotone: "A stranger in your own town; if everyone knew. ..." The voice is Brandon Durham, who shepherded his band Palaxy Tracks to Chicago in 2001, uncertain of his and their place in Austin. "... the real you." Oh, but we do. Those who soaked in the dewy screeches that radiated from the crummy PA at the Ritz Lounge know. So do those who bask in the warmth of their annual SXSW homecoming shows. Cedarland eliminates some of the starry electric effluvia of Palaxy Tracks' 2000 masterwork, The Long Wind Down, spotlighting Durham, whose sensitive, Nick Drake-like sentiments and delivery are the stuff of dorm-room mopefests and teenage-girl sob sessions. An overwhelming sense of place, physical and emotional, pervades Cedarland, which still packs an effects-happy punch in the right places. The cheeky title "To the Chicago Abyss" adds an extra layer to this rumination on love, time, and the meaning of home. Brad Murph's punchy riffs bounce off the well-timed electric wails of Durham, against a creamy backdrop of sculpted fuzztones that drop in and out of the mix. Ornate Pachelbel moments include opener "The Sediment," unquestionably ripe wedding material, and "The Awful Truth," an eight-minute mood-piece that breathes pastoral shoegaze. Cedarland expands Palaxy Tracks' palette, balancing emotional Anglophiliac romps ("The Wasp," "Girls on Bikes") with gentle, otherworldly interludes ("Good Morning Nurse," "Cedarland"). Palaxy Tracks' real home? Your stereo.