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Holiday Shores, Columbus'd the Whim (TwoSyllable Records)

July 15, 2009
Cover image of Holiday Shores' Columbus'd the Whim

Those who've grown close to 2009's efforts from Animal Collective or Lotus Plaza should be pleased with the ruckus generated at the hands of Holiday Shores (formerly Continental Divide).

An abundance of manic energy prevents the Florida-based outfit''s debut from nearing saccharine excess, even as a jovial approach underscores a lot of the record''s arrangements. Columbus'd the Whim launches into jangly hysteria more often than it showcases traditional beach-pop sensibility while primary songsmith Nathan Pemberton tries to manage his long-echoing high-pitched howl at the forefront.

Melancholy tracks on Columbus''d feel loose and refreshingly unplanned—"Dens" and "I'll Spend Money I Don't Have" swim in delay effects; playful thumb pianos on the latter find Holiday Shores brightening the record''s most solemn moments before its danceable “Edge of Our Lives.” Even when the band reins it in, Pemberton''s multitracked verses aren''t easily decoded. He has to force his talky style into a sort of from-the-rooftops call, as the 21-year-old vocalist battles perpetually ringing guitars and organs, which only fatten the brew of reverb and treble overload.

It''s a challenging listen at first, but sifting through Holiday Shores' general pandemonium for fine-tuned melody is its own reward. [3.5 out of 5 stars]

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