LIVE/HOME RECORDINGS

THE BILLIONS 

LIVE/HOME RECORDINGS

After introducing listeners to an engaging brand of atmospheric art-rock with last year's debut CD, The Billions return with an effort that proves the band can re-create its swirling soundscapes in a live setting. Only introductory applause distinguishes the concert cuts, which were recorded with remarkable clarity at a house party, from the tracks recorded in Samuel and Daniel Billens' bedroom over the past year. At their heaviest, The Billions bring to mind Pablo Honey-era Radiohead, with low-key, brooding verses leading into explosive, feedback-filled choruses. However, this Topeka-based quartet can also deliver everything from dreamy Pink Floyd-style psychedelic rock ("Sacks and Bushels") to intricate piano-powered instrumentals ("Letter from Chicago") to acoustic harmony showcases ("I'm Not Alone"). The album's finest selection, "Attack the Town," opens with a sparse, haunting guitar part, then retains this ghostly melody throughout the song while steadily adding other instrumental elements. Although a disclaimer in the liner notes warns that "this album is not a final product," this eclectic and elegant release still ranks among the year's finest local offerings thus far.

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