Condition: New (sealed)
The full-length debut from Elephant 6 cohort J. Kirk Pleasant and his massive call list of friends,Crystal Clear Mississippi is chalked full of hazy pop anthems and richly adorned instrumentals.
With clarinet, oboe, bassoon, flute, and slide whistles complimenting his own contribution, of which guitar, banjo, accordion, singing saw, alto ukulele, and piano are only a sample, Pleasant impressively avoids allowing a sense of clutter to dominate the mix.
While ‘Two Water Mocassins,’ a song about two snakes that fall in love, has a swelling, almost celebratory feel, and the title track manages to wring new life out of a rather predictable chord progression, Pleasant generally employs a more obscure, almost avant-garde pop aesthetic.
At 40 minutes, most of the album is tied up in the twin epics of ‘The Lava Suite’ and ‘Eve’s Dream Suite’, both of which move through multiple passages of varying tempo and density, with layers of instruments overlaying acoustic guitar strums and Pleasant’s voice, recalling Robert Schneider in its tone and Jeff Mangum in its phrasing.
And while Crystal Clear Mississippi doesn’t generally feature the sometimes cloying playfulness associated with Elephant 6 releases, Pleasant’s vision is always resting somewhere between a fairy tale and a psychedelic nightmare, as the musical moods created are usually somewhat uneasy and dizzying.
Still, the sum effect is altogether unpredictable, always engaging, and nothing less than impressive.
Matt Flink – All Music
01. Accordion Song
02. Two Water Mocassins
03. The Lava Suite
04. Seeds and Wings
05. Eve’s Dream Suite
07. Instumental 1
08. On Flight
09. Instrumental 2
10. Crystal Clear Mississippi