Reviewed by Darcie Stevens, Fri., Sept. 15, 2006
Tales From the Two Hill Heart/Sibylline Machine (C-Side)
Usually, a double LP is an extraneous affair. The Channel's third release is not; two separate halves combine to form a whole picture of the local eightpiece, two plenary albums coming from different visions. Original Channeler Colby Pennington birthed the idea of Tales From the Two Hill Heart, a collection of country-tinged stories exhibiting Jeff Tweedy-ness while remaining creative and new. "Olden Days" is a slap-knee tale of nature vs. music, the chorus looping for days. "The Man I Don't Remember" cries with pedal steel, harmonies bringing the solitude front and center, and a dissonant "Fired #3" combines organ and banjo psychedelic country in a whirlwind of drink and color. Jamie Reaves' Sibylline Machine is quite a different story: Elliott Smith tendencies croon and melt under delicate words. Double-tracked vocals inspire and coerce in the exquisite title track. "Rapture, My Captain" swirls with insurgency, as closer "Second Born Daughters" finishes the night's last drink and howls the moon away. All told, Sibylline is the stronger album, its tracks effortlessly setting the mood for a season change, but together, the Channel's view is vast and complex. No filler, just expression spread out under the guise of light and dark.