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White/Lichens (Holy Mountain)

A collaboration between Lichens and White/Light reads like a great idea on paper.

Lichens -- former 90 Day Men bassist Robert Lowe -- specializes in vocal drones colored with guitar and percussion. White/Light's twin-guitar doom -- a menacing fusion of VU, Earth, and Kevin Drumm -- should give Lowe's bubbly atmospherics ground to float over and play the perfect emotional counterpoint.

In practice, however, there's a problem: All parties involved are post-rockers from Chicago. Over the last 15 years, the Windy City's post-rock scene has been the world's capital for guitars that sound dry, sterile, and claustrophobic. And it's these guitars, with all their compressed fuzziness, that make up the bulk of this tepid disc, preventing its five soundscapes from exploding into three-dimensional psychedelia.

Fans well versed in the hazy and serene sounds of Low, Jessica Bailiff, and Tortoise will find in this disc plenty of places to hang their hats. The rest of the world, however, will have to wait and see if future releases prove more combustible.

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