Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain (Astralwerks)

Sparklehorse 

Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain (Astralwerks)

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what Mark Linkous' voice sounds like. He uses vocal effects with the same calculation a kidnapper would on a phoned-in ransom demand. For this fourth chapter in his Sparklehorse saga, he returns with some notable guest stars, including Tom Waits, Steven Drozd (the Flaming Lips) and DJ Danger Mouse, but you wouldn't know it. Linkous, who essentially is the band, seems to surrender little control in the production booth. Consequently, Dreamt for Light Years is just another Sparklehorse album. All of the usual elements from previous efforts are present. The sunny pop numbers ("Some Sweet Day"), the distortion-heavy rockers ("Ghost in the Sky"), the sparse and delicate duets ("Morning Hollow"), even the self-indulgent instrumentals (the title track, a bit excessive at 12 minutes). Luckily, he does all of these things with such ingenuity that it would be criminal to change the formula.

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