Music » CD Reviews

First Nation

First Nation (Paw Tracks)

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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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