By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Though its heyday has passed, the legacy of the psych-pop collective Elephant 6 has been preserved through classic records by Neutral Milk Hotel, The Apples in Stereo and The Olivia Tremor Control. Off the radar for years, Elephant 6 has recently attached its logo to a few new releases—and now comes the second album from Circulatory System, the post-Olivia Tremor Control work of Will Cullen Hart and collaborators.
Signal Morning is long overdue (the band's self-titled debut came out in 2001), yet it's instantly recognizable. It opens with the effects-swirled "Woodpecker Greeting Worker Ant," featuring the familiar harmonizing competing with shuddering distortion. Featuring every member of Hart's former band, this is a bit like déjà vu. It also re-establishes the trademark Elephant 6 sound: poppy, curtained with fuzz, casually orchestral and bursting with ideas. Specific instruments aren't always identifiable, and the 17 tracks have only the haziest outlines. At times, the band is restless to a fault: The pop promise of both "The Breathing Universe" and "I You We" fades after about a minute. Beginners might be baffled by it all, but Elephant 6 fans have come to expect such ceaseless tinkering and intermittent flashes of genius.
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