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Unsparing Sea 

A Cloud in the Cathedral (www.UnsparingSea.com)

As far as we know, Unsparing Sea's full-length debut is the only CD that gives a credit shout-out to eeriness. There are also plenty of cellos, harmoniums, saws, glockenspiels, and accordions on A Cloud in the Cathedral, a majestic sprawl of baroque psychedelia and Victorian gothic. Frontman J.R. Bennett obsesses over old-world imagery. Sinking ships, ghosts, and a vengeful God fill songs like "The Forgotten Bones of Miles Standish." But it's not all Plymouth rock: "Where Serpents Held Esteem" ponders a final judgment, even though the Pilgrims would approve of the wobbly waltz. Still, for every wandering chamber-pop hymn, Bennett and company toss in a twangy acid jam like "I Wasn't There . . . " And don't skip the lyric sheet: The quieter tracks only sound like instrumentals.

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