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Listing Ship
Time To Dream
True Classical

With its last album, Dance Class Revolution L.A.-based collective Listing Ship (formerly Leather Hyman) pushed the boundaries between melodic rock and avant-garde experimentation, incorporating field recordings and altered instruments into its buoyant melodies. Now, four years on, the band has been reconfigured, with singer/violinist Heather Lockie's sister Shawn joining and tape experimenter Pablo Garcia leaving. Even co-founder Lyman Chaffee seems to be taking a back seat. As a result, there's nothing as triumphantly mad as last album's "Wake Up George," or as outsizedly wonderful as the guitar explosion in "Dance Class Revolution." Instead, what we have is a very pretty album of tightly harmonized folk tunes, extremely well made but ultimately a little saccharine. The two sisters have very similar voices, very nice voices that combine in lovely ways, but where is the headlong rush into weirdness that made earlier work — Dance Class Revolution and Sunshine and Other Forms of Radiation — so engrossing? "This sounds like the Roches," was my original reaction on hearing the album for the first time, and while you can make a case for the Roches, they are not nearly as interesting as Listing Ship used to be.

Still, setting expectations aside, there are some really wonderful moments in Time to Dream: the slow, gentle build of "Sleep of the Beloved," the singsong-y Cajun lilt of "Baise Ca," the scratchy jangle in the corners of euphoric "The Temptation of Miss Piggy." The supporting characters are skilled and varied, with Mike Watt playing bass on most of the tracks, and Michael Whitmore (of the Michael Whitmore Sometet) adding touches of vibraphone, guitar, mandolin and drums. Garcia returns for the hauntingly strange "Eda No Mel." With its sea sounds and vibrating violin tones, this adventurous cut is one of the album's highlights.

Time to Dream sounds like a band having fun. There's an infectious joy to many of the tracks, a bounciness, a euphoric giggle. Still, I'd like to see Listing Ship push a little harder at the margins, as they've done on previous albums. This seems too easy, too pretty to matter much.

by Jennifer Kelly

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