Channel Personalized

Though not formerly connected the E6 collective outside of working the Martyn Leaper, Personalized is the best of its kind since the Leaper's own Minders gave us The Future's Always Perfect in 2003. Featuring the singing and songwriting talents of founding brothers Colby and Brent Penington, with Andy McAllister, Jamie Reaves and sister Heather Penington, the Channel's sophomore record is as obsessed with the collective's twee-Beach Boys’ Today! harmonies (think Of Montreal), intricately layered production (think early Apples in Stereo) and melodies that take more subtle and not-so-subtle twists than a Lynch script. Though kept short, the record is loaded with a surprising variety (no doubt in part to their five separate songwriters/producers), from the expected indie-pop to psych-country, boisterous folk and even a Bonnie "Prince" Billy cover, "Black," which, outside of the expanded arrangement, is awfully faithful to the original. It's a record that's experimental without turning esoteric and hugely accessible without being formulaic or easily pared down to their sometimes obvious influences. I realise that a good three-quarters of bands that employ harmonies or a Beach Boys influence get compared to E6, but don't hold it against the group; even with its faults, few take such a widely attempted aesthetic this far, and even fewer have this kind of shelf-life. (C-Side)