- The Washington Times - Monday, March 1, 2004

All Night Radio

Spirit Stereo Frequency

Sub Pop Records

In a time of guitar-driven garage-rock revivalism, it’s nice to see a couple of guys playing glockenspiels and Mellotrons and creating soundscapes that have little hope of reproduction outside the recording studio.

Such is the simple conceit of Dave Scher and Jimi Hey, a pair of Angelenos who call themselves All Night Radio. Their experimental debut, “Spirit Stereo Frequency,” is an exercise in psych-rock atmospherics that sound refreshingly free of the modern hallmarks of Radiohead.

There are shadows of Haight-Ashbury acid parlors and Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie here, of Moby Grape and the Jefferson Airplane, but no Pro Tools or Mac PowerBooks.

“Spirit” recalls the Byrds’ “Notorious Byrd Brothers” album, in which the splintering band found itself midway between baroque pop and country rock. The dum-dum, bop-bop harmonies of “Daylight Till Dawn” soar in Beach Boys technicolor, while “We’re on Our Wave” and “Sad K.” are graced with hints of pedal-steel guitar.

On “Fall Down 7,” Mr. Scher and Mr. Hey flirt with rap — which could be a first in the history of dream pop.

At times, the constant wave of analog electronics threatens to carry “Spirit” somewhere uninviting.

They’re all part of a singular sound experience that hangs together for a satisfying 40 minutes.

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