Ladybug Transistor/Of Montreal | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Ladybug Transistor/Of Montreal




On Beverley Atonale, the second album by Brooklyn's Ladybug Transistor, you could hear the young quartet's reach exceeding their grasp: aiming for the orchestral splendor of 60s pop, they got a handful of flat, rinky-dink indie rock played on too many instruments. But they gamely tried again, and although there are some clunky moments on their new The Albemarle Sound (Merge), by and large the album is a success. Singer and trumpeter Gary Olson has a limited vocal range, and sometimes the care he takes in navigating the baroque twists of the songs makes him sound downright foppish--as on "The Automobile Song." But these moments are few, and the group's resourceful arrangements--"Cienfuegos" is a nifty Ennio Morricone rip, and "Oceans in the Hall" sounds like the Association as produced by Brian Wilson--obscure its shortcomings. Opening act Of Montreal, a second-tier member of Athens's vaunted Elephant 6 collective, takes a much less studied approach to its obsession with the 60s. Though the Beach Boys loom large on the group's new concept album, The Gay Parade (Bar/None)--a series of Winesburg, Ohio-esque vignettes--I'm also reminded of the Arthur-era Kinks. Like his fellow Elephants, Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes enjoys throwing in the kitchen sink on occasion, flavoring many songs with cabaret stylings and childlike goofiness, but for the most part he couches his sugary hooks in familiar rock rhythms, just like Ray Davies. Thursday, May 13, 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Kristine Potter.

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