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The Reindeer Section 

Y'all Get Scared Now Y'hear (Piasa)

Because the Reindeer Section is a veritable Scottish supergroup -- its members hail from some of Glasgow's finest, including Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai, Arab Strap, etc. -- one would expect its sound to closely resemble the ornate musical constructions of those bands and others of their ilk. Surprisingly, though, Y'all Get Scared Now Y'hear sounds as if it's set in the American-indie heartland circa 1993. Credit a Lou Barlow show in Glasgow as the inspiration and Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol as the catalyst. Lightbody apparently had his heartstrings so tweaked by Barlow's plaintive balladeering that he was inspired to write a subsequently low-fi opus of his own. And since half of the Glasgow musical mafia was in the audience that night, it wasn't hard for Lightbody to recruit 'em.

But these Scots don't only evoke Barlow and company with such sullen soliloquys as "If Everything Fell Quiet," "Deviance," and "Will You Please Be There for Me"; they also bring to mind a lot of those second-echelon groups who flourished in the mid-'90s indie rock heyday (check out the dreary stupor of "If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet" for Purple Ivy Shadows levels of somnolence). When Jenny Reeve of Eva takes center stage to wax one of those perfectly dreamy, icicle-melting numbers à la Belle & Sebastian chanteuse Isobel Campbell, it's a welcome relief from the whole lonely-farmboy proposition. Then there's "Sting," which starts out Barlowesque, then breaks into a loping wave of portostatic atmospherics that finally breaks the aura of shy-guy reserve with the most ornate Belle & Sebastian-like moment on the LP. In many ways, it demonstrates what this makeshift group could have done if it had gone a little lighter on the Barlowisms. As it is, it'll have to stand as the best Sebadoh album since Bakesale.

More by Joe S. Harrington

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