The Normans

Stereo Savant (Brief Planet)

Texas Platters

The Normans

Stereo Savant (Brief Planet)

Following up their (very) full-length debut, 2004's 16-song Dreams of Autocrashes, the Normans' Stereo Savant EP retains the expansive wall of sound in a more condensed and manageable burst. With former God Drives a Galaxy guitarist Cory Butler at the helm, the Normans reflect aspects of the former group's hypnotic psychedelics, emerging here in the space-rock textures swirling behind a garage-pop sensibility and accentuated by the atmospheric lulls of the Tosca String Quartet. "Well Well Hey Hey" kicks in the EP with a wave of feedback pouring into a straight-ahead, if blissfully scratchy, pop, the song's oppositional impulses toward unrestrained, discordant jams and subdued, tightly wound vocal harmonies hearkening Grandaddy's Pretty Mess. The balance succeeds best on "Lowell," the underlying restlessness and anxiety of the opening lines surging into an epiphanic explosion. And although closer "Heavens to Betsy" revisits Autocrashes, the four new songs satiate beyond the disc's brevity.

***

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