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Anathallo

Floating World (Artist Friendship/Nettwerk America)

Don't let those could-be Finnish song titles fool you. Anathallo hails from Michigan, its name draws reference from a Japanese folktale, and its debut, Floating World, bears little resemblance to any of the zillion CD-Rs recorded in recent years by Avarus or Avarus-associated concerns. This five-years-running septet fuses the reeling, jet-stream guitars and horn sections of cinematic Canadian exports like Godspeed You Black Emperor! and the Arcade Fire together with Animal Collective's yiffing, yipping glee-club hubbub and clatter; Mount Eerie's mirror-gazing self-assessment; Ben Folds's intimate, Gen-X piano dramarama; and downcast chamber music. This unlikely synthesis of approaches — and the occasional injection of handclaps and xylophones — contributes to Floating World's fresh, open-ended feel, the sense that anything could conceivably follow that wordless, trombone-fueled "oooo" or this tangled nest of drumstick clacks. Finally, at long bloody last, here's a fiction-based, indie-rock concept album that isn't determined to bore its audience into submission.

 
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