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Wednesday

SXSW Records

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Carving Desert Canyons (Prosthetic)

Taken at Paria Canyon in southern Utah, the wavelike geologic images adorning the cover of this Houston prog-metal quartet's second CD speak volumes about their evolutionary approach. The band slips and slides around rock's ancient dynasties with a frisky slither that's one part Joe Satriani, one part Link Wray, and for the most part, stunningly original. Things lift off immediately on driving opener "Bloom," a perfect soundtrack for adventure sportsmen needing a quick hit of adrenaline before heading out. Like Austin's hometown heroes Explosions in the Sky, STS resounds bigger than the sum of its parts, the fifth person in the room guaranteed to be Mother Nature. Song titles such as "The Great Plains" and "Glacial Planet" fail to convey the technical proficiency of the band, dueling guitarists Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier trading gatefold-worthy crescendos. (Wed., 1:20am, Mohawk.)

***

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