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Bel Auburn

Cathedrals (Damselfly Records)

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Cathedrals, the full-length debut from Ashland's ambitious indie-rock troupe Bel Auburn, is as ornate and exquisitely crafted as its titular buildings. Consisting of 10 songs and 10 vignettes, the latter of which all contain a pronounced spiritual bent, this is a collection of stained-glass pop and literature that's unabashedly sweeping in scope.

"It's not the math that's all wrong, just a lack of heat," frontman Scott Williams sings at one point, attempting to correct the imbalance that plagues much of modern rock by complementing swelling, sophisticated pop with unchecked emoting. Climactic slash-and-burn emo ("The Speed of Thought") crescendos next to papiér-mâché ballads, beautified by piano ("How Not to Get Caught") and trumpet ("Hands, Away"), with Williams's pleading lilt often rocketing to an exultant yelp. When it's all said and done, Cathedrals casts a long shadow over Bel Auburn's indie rock contemporaries.

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