Microphones The Glow, Pt. 2

K Records' lo-fi troubadour Phil Elvrum is back again with another journey through his world of sketched out songs. The Glow, Pt. 2 (taking its name from a track on their last album) isn't any kind of huge departure for the band, but there has been a gradual increase in the number of songs that sound like, well, songs. There is also more variation in the instruments used, making for a fully realised recording. The title track is the centrepiece of the album, setting the scene for the rest of the record, as it starts off with a wall of distorted guitar before changing into a quieter acoustic setting, adding a wonderfully warm organ and then regaining some of that initial noise. It has a real epic feel to it, despite only lasting about five minutes, and when Elvrum follows this kind of template it is hard to imagine anyone doing it better. At times, they still seem to be channelling the spirit of Eric's Trip, with their lo-fi shenanigans that sometimes stop before they get to their final destination. But just like almost everything else that the Microphones have ever done, The Glow, Pt. 2 has a disjointed, meandering feel that can make for an album that lacks focus and overstays its welcome. So by the end of 67 minutes you'll be wishing that some quality control was used to trim it down by 15 minutes or so (or at least the last song, which wastes close to ten minutes without really going anywhere). Still, the good stuff is really good, and songs like "The Moon" and "Map" will help to get you through the less worthy material. (K)