Ripples In the Upside Down Pond

Sturgeon Mill 

Ripples In the Upside Down Pond

From its album title (a quote from Kerouac) to its Raygun-style lyrics sheet design (complete with backwards letters), it's clear that Sturgeon Mill aims for a brainier, edgier image than its alt-rock peers. Musically, the group offers a few experimental moments, such as the sound-effect-filled "The Dance of Chad" interludes and the chilly distorted guitar of "Vex," but most of its songs are straightforward, well-produced pop tunes, powered by acoustic guitar riffs and crisp vocals. "Lifeless People," a warped blues number that ends with screams, and "Tasting the Forbidden Fruits," a song that starts with a keyboard-created new-wave ambience before evolving into an earthy jam session near its conclusion, rank among the album's highlights. With such songs as "The Trap" and "Kill Yourself or I Will," the group matches menacing lyrics with nonthreatening music, while on the hard-edge "I Should've Woke You," growling guitars and shouted lyrics about corpses and hell result in a tune that might result in some crossover attention from the area's sizable metal crowd. As the dust settles following this penultimate track, Sturgeon Mill closes with the introspective "A Waking Dream," which uses a string section to add depth. This version of "Dream" might not appear on Sturgeon Mill's setlist, as rock bands tend not to play gigs with violins in tow, but the group's cello-free performance was enough to power it to an impressive showing at KJHK's Farmer's Ball. Look for this outfit to draw an increasing number of eclectic but enthusiastic fans to its concerts in coming months.

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