Stamen & Pistils End of the Sweet Parade

Done in a breathless half an hour, the sweet acoustics and electro-pop flourishes of this sort-of EP definitely make Stamen & Pistils ones that more adventurous Stars fans may want to keep an ear out for. With an impressive indie warbling leading the guitar and electronic beats through their journeys, it is in the balance between the beats and more traditional music that Stamen & Pistils find their triumph and their downfall. When it works, it works beautifully and originally, as in "Somewhere in Between the Beginning and the Middle,” where the electro-pop elements sound very random — imagine a sine wave of high-pitched beats — but actually fit in quite nicely with the simple, classic drum beat. The juxtaposition definitely works, but sometimes this threesome slips, as in the combination of "Penny Farthing Ride” and "Boy Versus Girls.” On these two songs, the electronic elements are much too harsh and rather add to the atmosphere in balancing the more traditional elements as they boil over and grate the songs, tipping the scales. There are some great ideas floating around, and once Stamen & Pistils perfect their interesting formula, a more consistent album won’t be far behind. (Echelon)