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The Volta Sound

The Volta Sound (self-released)

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These guys in the Volta Sound -- drummer Michael Prieto, singer Matt Cassidy, singer-guitarist Michael Cormier, bassist David Geddes, organist T.D. Vainisi, and guitarist Ben Yawns -- take their retro psychedelic shtick seriously. On the back of their self-titled debut, they've got a photo of an old Ford van in Day-Glo lime with a mural painted on its side. While they might identify themselves with America's psychedelic movement, their sound is purely British. Think of Manchester in the late-'80s, when the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays were writing droning, ethereal songs.

The band's psychedelic bent is evident right from the opening notes of "Everything Is Alright," the first track on the record, which employs echoing vocals, tambourine shakes, and fuzzy guitars. A lazy, hazy groove runs through all 14 of the songs here, giving the album coherence and continuity. At times, the neopsychedelic sound can be a bit much. The incessant tambourine shakes in "She Gets Me High" go on for too long, and the la-la-la vocals in "Love Dirty Sound" are irritating. But you gotta love the breezy horns in "We Have Voices" and the optimism of "Great Day." "She's a Breeze" features exuberant vocals, acoustic guitars, organ, and wide-eyed enthusiasm. More psychedelic than spacey, the Volta Sound has a good ear for beautiful harmonies and hooks. And even when the whole thing becomes too sleepy-eyed, it still makes for pleasant listening.

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