Forget the Dylan getup Nick Thorburn (Islands, the Unicorns) sports on the cover, the real influences here (Everly Brothers, Beach Boys) predate the thin, wild mercury. Even more interesting than Thorburn and Jim Guthrie’s pitch-perfect tenor harmonies and laidback acoustic strumming, though, is their subversion of early ’60s pop themes — the anti-“Fun, Fun, Fun” of “My Beach,” the lifted Santo and Johnny melody repurposed on “Sleep Talking” to target philosophical zombies, or the rootsy “Ode to Abner,” which prettily asserts “I’m fed up, I’m hungry, using drugs, and when I said to you ‘I am happy,’ I was lyin’.” The title track, a motorpsycho daydream related over a proto-motorik chug, might be a nod to Dylan, sure, but the phenomenal “Duties of a Lighthouse Keeper” realizes the album’s apparent ideal: Ricky Nelson’s “Travelin’ Man” if somebody spiked the lemonade in Ozzy and Harriet’s kitchen with LSD.
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