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Rhythm & Views

Mazarin

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On its third full-length release, the Philadelphia-based dream-pop band Mazarin shows itself edging toward a more fully realized and unique sound, not one simply fueled by a raft of tasteful inspirations.

Primarily the project of Quentin Stoltzfus (formerly of Azusa Plane), Mazarin has a way of crafting intriguing songs from familiar elements, such as "New American Apathy," on which robotic drumming, backwards guitars and bell effects couch Stoltzfus' thin-air vocals in a bed of sonic whipped cream.

On "At 12 to 6," Stoltzfus works up a wonderful droning psychedelic-folk froth, without succumbing to a too-obvious trick bag of retro-'60s tropes, while the instrumental "Schroed(er)/Inger" is a charming minimalist meditation on rudimentary electronica, not unlike--but neither is it too derivative of--Brian Eno's 1970s experiments in faux-naïve pop.

Naturally, one or two cuts fail to distinguish themselves on this disc, merely summarizing the chiming, jangly pop-rock of countless alt-indie-whatever bands during the last 20 or so years. But by the time we reach "I'm With You and the Constellations," the song's nod to the gauzy-narcotic guitar noise of My Bloody Valentine--the criminally AWOL and surprisingly influential Brit group--comes as expected, logical and satisfying. Like much on We're Already There, it just feels good.

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