Doleful Lions Song Cyclops Volume One

Not every band from Chapel Hill sounds like it, and Doleful Lions are one of them. It is incredibly tempting to call them an indie pop version of Guided By Voices (circa Vampire On Titus), because the songs on Song Cyclops Volume One contain more ideas than most bands have in their entire careers. The music is never quite as obvious as it initially seems, and they have a habit of stopping before it feels like they should. They are very succinct with their songs, and that works to their advantage over the 22-song, 70-minute album, which could easily drag and get boring but never does; even the more mundane tracks have an underlying weirdness, sometimes musically but normally lyrically - song titles like "Spacecraft Marooned In The Gorillaworld" and "The Marauding Ghouls" give you an idea of what to expect. The weirdness reaches a fever point with a particularly woozy version of "We Three Kings Of Orient Are" that could make any aged relative feel physically sick over the festive season. This is a challenging album that rewards those who are willing to spend some time with it. And, best of all, Song Cyclops Volume Two is already primed and awaiting release. (Parasol)