While The Earlies' . . . uh, earliest collaborations (1998) didn't necessarily constitute a band, their first EP in 2002 did. What began as a file-sharing project between two Texans (JM Lapham and Brandon Carr) and two chaps in northern England (Christian Madden and Giles Hatton) who all loved prog, psychedelia, and hymnlike harmonies had grown into a viable musical outlet. Four more EPs later, the four band members finally met for the first time in England in 2004, to sign their first recording contract and to tour in support of These Were the Earlies, a compilation of their . . . um, earlier work together. With the album now released stateside as well, they've brought their psych lullabies and Flaming Lips- and Mercury Rev-influenced lounge-pop to the Land of the Free, too. Toss in some Polyphonic Spree-esque musical assaults and you get atmospheric soundscapes as trippy as a sweaty sock stuffed with acid dots.
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