Channel Sibylline Machine/Tales from the Two Hill Heart

When a double album barely contains enough top notch material for a decent-sized EP, there’s a problem and that is exactly the dilemma that the Channel find themselves with. With two prolific songwriters, this seven-piece Austin, TX band really, really want to let their adoring public hear as many songs as possible on their third album. But for everyone else, it might just be a little too much. While their last record, the very well-received Personalized, had songs written by five members, this time the focus is on Colby Pennington and Jamie Reeves, and they each have their chance to shine. Sibylline Machine is slightly more consistent with its many Beach Boys harmonies and jangly guitars that are reminiscent of the Shimmer Kids Underpop Association, but the stronger songs reside on Tales from the Two Hill Heart, which adds some twang and banjo to the proceedings. Yet even with two different approaches, both discs still sound like the same band trying to stretch their wings. Ultimately, it is ambition that is the Channel’s undoing. There just isn’t enough good stuff for two CDs, especially since the contents of both clocks in at under an hour. Even if you do subscribe to the whole idea of physically separating the material into two different discs, this is still too much of a band that haven’t quite got there yet. (Reflection)