CD Review //
The Channel
"Electronic Luck"
(C-Side Records)

While I'm not certain what the exact term for the genre in which The Channel can be found, I'm glad to know that this overall sound of rock n roll can seemingly take us through time.  It's in the way which one might create a playlist or just listen to certain albums in a row because the trippy sounds of 1960's psych rock can turn into The Beatles just as easily as The Beatles can then turn into acoustic folk.

"Electronic Luck" begins with a song called "Songbird" which is a chorus of vocals.  It feels shorter like an introduction to the album but still stands on its own as a song.   "Let's Fall" is the second song and it has feelings along the lines of "That Thing You Do!" and Superdrag, which if you listen to this album and think that same idea at the beginning by the end you'll seemingly wonder how you were ever here.

"A Welcome Mat Was Placed Just So" is instrumental with clanks and lasers, so I like to think of it as being a space western, which in some ways goes on to define this album as The Channel can switch from the electronic to acoustic or blend the two seamlessly.  "Honeysuckle Rose" is folk with background vocals and it's less than a minute in length.   The fun aspect of these songs which should be stated now is that their length doesn't always seem to fit- longer songs can feel shorter- and I prefer listening to this album from start to finish so it feels more like one long song.

"I Saw The Night" has the line: "I don't believe in the dark" which is an interesting concept because, to be fair, when it gets darker our eyes adjust and if you really think about it there isn't such a thing as the dark as much as we're just at different levels of bright, right?  I mean, being outside in an open field on a sunny day doesn't even have the same level of bright as if it were cloudy or if you were inside.

We take on that Beatles sound in "The Rain Comes", which provides me with my favorite line on this album: "Do you live in the world around you or the world inside your head", which is something I always seem to struggle with (a lot more lately).    On "Mello" you can hear kids say "I hear mom" and it just becomes this groove which I love.  It reminds me of Spoon in ways and then they say "That is what it feels like to be one of us" which feels hypnotic.   The end of the song just sort of vibes out without any words.   This is also a good example of how even the longer songs feel like more than one song at times.

Drum machine beats set the tone on "Frozen Visitations" and then the next song begins with words spoken and distorted, trippy sounds.   "The Entire Room..." is an acoustic masterpiece, one of my favorite songs not just on this album but in general and it feels like it's that type of song that you should listen to at least once to know how it's done.  It might not be the song which best represents the overall mood of this album but it's a song which is among the best I've ever heard in all my years of listening to all of the many songs I've heard.

If this was a record (and it does feel appropriate for vinyl) this would be where the second half of it kicked off- either on the other side or simply as a second record if it became a double LP.  "Let Me Down" starts with static skips and bass, but then kicks in with these blissed out vocals.  The percussion reminds me a bit of Phil Collins only not and I'm also hearing a bit of The Rad Trads now.   As this album has much acoustics to it, "Let Me Down" is the electronic part of this all.  A screeching guitar riff and drum machine mayhem towards end of this song just further support my song within a song notion.

"Circadian Rhymes" is a distorted acoustic jam.   I'm thinking of bands like What Made Milwaukee Famous and wonder if people will get that reference.   "Overslept, Overheard" is in that darker, rusty acoustic spot and then it can also remind me of Local H.   "Silver Snake" has that early 2000's college radio rock vibe to it, which says a lot because there was a lot of great music coming out at that time and I think much of it was even overlooked because of the quantity not quality.  If you had played me this in 2005 I definitely would have said that The Channel would be on SXSW that year (or at least in Houston for the overflow fest at SHFL)

As we near the end, maybe the last fourth of this album or so, we get into some Flaming Lips sounds and then dive down into a desolate country type of feel.   The last song is even that chorus of vocals again, somewhat like how we started it all.   This album is twenty songs and a little over an hour long.   It's not something to put on in your car if you're going to drive across town.  Some albums have those songs where they feel like episodes of a television show- if you want something quick to watch.  But "Electronic Luck" is more like a movie in the sense that it's best experienced when you really sit with it, from start to finish, and you make the time.  


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