John Vanderslice Time Travel is Lonely

With the release of Time Travel is Lonely, his second full-length since breaking from pop outfit MK Ultra, Vanderslice has proven that hard work really does pay off. After spending over 300 hours recording with engineer John Croslin (GBV, Spoon), the Tiny Telephone studio owner has emerged with a disc eclipsing his debut and displaying his production chops to their fullest. As a studio owner, Vanderslice realises he's in an ideal position as a musician, and feels as comfortable in his space as lo-fi types do in their basement. "It is home recording for me," he writes from his home in San Francisco, "I have been in that space for six years, slowly plowing the cash flow back into gear and making improvements over time. I am very comfortable sitting around there on open days. Sometimes I am productive, sometimes I am like any other home recordist and I scream in frustration and start playing Dreamcast." Time Travel Is Lonely does what great pop records should, reeling in ears with outlandish production and what Vanderslice calls "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink overdubs," in much the same way as recent masterpieces by Grandaddy, Flaming Lips and Neutral Milk Hotel. With a client list that includes such pop luminaries as Beulah and For Stars, Vanderslice can't help but feel full of creativity and inspiration, using every trick in the book to lay his dream album to tape. "I grew up on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Quadrophenia, highly conceptualised, super-complicated hi-fi records that must've taken months and months to pull off. That was what I wanted to do when I was 16 - camp out in a studio and make these crazy records!" Vanderslice's quirky songcraft has never sounded better than on Time Travel Is Lonely, a delight of bouncy horn-ingested pop laced with distorted drums, beats and Moog-y gurgles that would make even Keith Emerson sit up and take notice. A refreshing Pacific breeze in what has been a relatively slow year in pop. (Barsuk)