By: Eric Greenwood
With lush instrumentation (acoustic guitars, piano, hazy atmospherics) reminiscent of a less quirky Jon Brion soundtrack, Earlimart follows up 2003's Everyone Down Here album with more of the same Elliott Smith-inspired, maudlin pop. Gone are the days when Earlimart would even remotely be compared to the likes of the Pixies or Yo La Tengo (and gone is much of my interest). The buzzing guitars and shoegazer noise have been abandoned for a more layered, atmospheric sound. Aaron Espinoza's strained, multi-tracked, and hushed vocal style makes for some heavy-lidded listening. It's safe, unobtrusive, and ubiquitously "indie", if well produced and memorably melodic, at times. The relentless mid-tempo drone doesn't make for prolonged interest, however. Espinoza clearly listens to good music, as hints of 90's indie rock staples like Pavement or Built To Spill surface casually in between his melancholy folk musings. It's all right, but it lacks the immediacy and depth of its obvious forbearers.