July's too early for list-making, but this self-titled EP by Morris Orchids is one of two local albums I've heard this year (Girl in a Coma's Trio B.C. being the other) that should be required listening for anyone bitching about the state of San Antonio's music scene. This six-track album deserves a few listens, in fact, because it possesses that nagging instant likability that tempts you to dismiss it as derivative before you can even name its influences, and it flows so smoothly that at first glance it might be mistaken for fluff. Opener "Bonnie," for example, is a layered pastry of handclaps, "oohs" and "ahhs," rain effects, and nearly any other sunnyside pop trope worth mentioning, but the parts have been assembled into a fresh and dreamy whole. The harmony keyboardist Chris Guerra and guitarists Jaime and Leonard Rader achieve is enough to carry the song and maybe even the album, but it never has to. "Ink" augments a tropical-tinged vocal line with Anthony Turner's one-man drum circle, while "Vista" culminates Windows-style in a mechanical breakdown, and "Waves" sounds like the premature love child of PAS/CAL and a Fabergé egg — too beautiful and fragile for this world. Download Morris Orchids for whatever you want to pay, Radiohead-style, at morrisorchids.bandcamp.com.
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