Music » CD Reviews

First Nation

First Nation (Paw Tracks)


What if Animal Collective's crew of lost boys were lost girls instead? What if the only circumstances available to record their debut, Lord of the Flies-style, were a band-camp cabin miles away from civilization, a battered pile of instruments, and their own unsteadily pretty voices?

Precociously anemic and refreshingly free of tape tomfoolery, the N.Y.C. sprites of First Nation make a lot out of relatively little, staking out a middle ground between Helium's put-on mysticism, Blast Off Country Style's adorable ineptitude, and Sharpie face-paint tribalism.

Spidery, fairy guitars dally and dither against a repeating entry-level organ figure as the ladies tick off female-empowerment options in an airy, awkward, underpracticed round ("You Can Be"); a trail of syncopated whumps guides a massed bouquet of chanted, wordless harmonies ("Awakes") -- a trick "Waterfall" later revisits with less coherence, each woman's individual vocals piping like gentle, misaligned pistons with no intended destination.

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