Radiogram Unbetween

I imagine there's a band like Radiogram in every town in Canada; a respected singer/songwriter rounds up the best players he knows, they come together on someone's back porch, not knowing what to expect and miraculously a magical sound occurs. Radiogram is Vancouver's band, centred around Emptys front-man Ken Beattie, who is joined on his stoned soul picnic by the likes of Red Sugar's Steven Wegelin and Randy Forrester, Jonathan Inc.'s Jonathan Anderson, pianist Mark Critchley, violinist Jesse Zubot and others. The sound is a captivating ambient folk swirl, punctuated by Beattie's lazy baritone, reminiscent of Peter Cash. The songs drift by in slow motion fades, carried by some surprisingly effective lap steel, trumpet and accordion. In fact, as the album unfolds, it's conceivable that these guys could become Mercury Rev with a little more effort. An excellent debut from a throw-together band that should seriously consider staying together. (Transsiberian)