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Church 

Wednesday, Dec 23 2009
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An air of mystery hangs over Portland, Ore., quartet Church, and not simply because of its vague name. The band's debut album, Song Force Crystal, is all over the place, and yet remarkably understated. Moods and textures come and go, but there's none of the erratic showiness of so many young groups. Rather, siblings Brandon and Richard Laws harmonize solemnly over cozy swaths of organ and tiptoed drumming. That's not to say things don't get loud: The opening "Aquamarine" recalls the Beatles' "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" before mutating into something all its own.

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Doug Wallen

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