Nobody familiar with Chris Cohen's harried guitar tactics from his Deerhoof days, or his brick-by-brick deconstruction of rock in the Curtains, should be taken aback by the organic weirdness of Cryptacize, yet another of his outfits (or is that outlets?). The big difference here is that Cohen's girlfriend, Kill Rock Stars alumna Nedelle Torrisi, is the leader. Cohen sings some and contributes freaky guitar that's alternately sputtered and precise, but Torrisi's airy yet substantial vocals are one of this band's defining features. Such sweet singing, not to mention her way with romantic strings and crinkling autoharp, helps keep in check the artiness that could very well have run rampant. (Another resource is disciplined drummer Michael Carreira, who picks up a harmonica here and there.) Most of Cryptacize's songs unfold as chiming, erratic pop, informed by influences as contrasting as skeletal Caribbean folk and lush Broadway musicals. No two songs are alike, and yet they all sound like the same band, an impressive feat for any debut album, regardless of the players' pedigree.
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