El Goodo [Empyrean]

by: Elgoodo

Although Welsh psych-pop outfit El Goodo don't sound a bit like Big Star, the fact that they nicked their name from an old cult fave tune is illuminating: there is nothing about El Goodo that any reasonably knowledgeable student of pop history hasn't heard before. That said, the first-names-only quintet do a better job than most of synthesizing enough disparate influences that it doesn't sound like they're just ripping off one band in particular. The wry "Stuck in the '60s" says it all, really: faux Beach Boys vocals, queasy strings out of a Serge Gainsbourg record, a Mellotron part straight from the opening of "Strawberry Fields Forever," Forever Changes' mariachi trumpets, but all of them are brought together by a solid, hooky melody and a knowing lyric that says "Yes, we know we're not really doing anything new here." Other highlights include the accordion-powered waltz "I Tried But I Failed," which has unexpected echoes of Ram-era Paul McCartney, and the sweet-tooth psychedelia of the jangle-fuzzy "Surreal Morning," complete with backwards guitar solo. Blending the druggily experimental vibe of the Beta Band or El Goodo's friends and patrons Super Furry Animals with the kind of retro songcraft the Apples in Stereo mastered on Fun Trick Noisemaker and Tone Soul Evolution, this is strictly for those who like to play spot-the-homage, but the group's better than average songwriting and clear fondness for their obvious influences make this an enjoyable listen. ~ Stewart Mason

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.