Review: Carrier, s/t

Shoegazer rock is alive and well in the hands of Carrier, the latest project from 34 Satellite frontman Marc Benning.

Joined by Lawrence veterans Brandon Aiken (Panel Donor) and Kliph Scurlock (The Flaming Lips) as well as former Breeders/Guided By Voice drummer Jim Macphereson, Carrier hashes out majestic walls of sound that pay homage to My Bloody Valentine, Pink Floyd and Dinosaur Jr. (who, incidentally, played on the last two 34 Satellite releases).

Benning sings in a gentle and pure voice that stands in stark contrast to the cascading guitar and huge drums that characterize most songs. Aiken's warped guitar effects distinguish tracks like "Both of You," while Scurlock's propulsive drumming never lets down. Faint traces of piano and vintage keyboards pop up from time to time thanks to co-producer/engineer Jim Vollentine.

Benning's stream-of-consciousness lyrics largely dwell on escapist themes, such as flying or gazing into the sky. The murky subject matter suits the evocative melodies that distinguish Carrier's two-guitar attack.

Recorded at a rural ranch in Colorado (Benning currently resides in Denver), Carrier's debut sounds like a bunch of friends hanging out and making the music they love. The album isn't an immediate attention grabber, but making a little investment up front will pay off in hours of daydream-inducing bliss.

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