Pagoda Dearly Departed

Drenched in echoed guitar, soft distortion and lightly expelled vocals, Dearly Departed is the debut full-length from Washington DC’s Pagoda, an impressive psychedelic alt-country record that falls somewhere between the Clientele, Fakebook-era Yo La Tengo and, during its more upbeat moments, Big Star. Though its underwhelming instrumental bookends seem tacked on to keep this from being an EP release, the meat of the record — ranging from sparse, sombre ballads to cheerful, sun-baked psychedelia — is strong, especially during the incredibly catchy "Superbreakout” and dream-like harmonies of "Down to the Road.” Though sporadically caught in its own hypnotic trance, letting the style casually carry its ideas, Departed is nevertheless a memorable account of a band figuring out where they want to go. (Lazyline)