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The Unsparing Sea 

EP (

The Unsparing Sea filters its measured post-rock through languid jangle-pop and sad country waltzes. It's a pretty cool idea, if a bit dated: Rex tinkered with similar elements back in '96. Unlike Rex, however, the Unsparing Sea lacks a loose, earthy groove. But if the band could cultivate that (call it "rustic abandon"), then fairly stiff indie-rock like "Glass House" could be transformed into an expansive, dubbed-out jam: Tubby meets Popul Vuh.

Meanwhile, singer-guitarist J.R. Bennett is a fairly imaginative lyricist, but he's too influenced by old-school emo and Billy Corgan, smothering these five tunes in a raspy, discordant whine. Instead, Bennett should dig deeper into the country-folk tradition which the Unsparing Sea dabbles in. There, he'll discover a wealth of role models: crooners who communicated emotion not through raw expressionism (the downfall of modern rock), but through technique and skill.

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