There's a rustic sense of familiarity listening to Lula, the three-song debut EP by Phoenix indie folk combo Of the Painted Choir.
Composed of elements we're well antiquated with -- a little M. Ward mumble/slapback vocal here, a fuzzy British Invasion guitar lick there -- the collection doesn't sacrifice quality employing such recognizable signifiers.
Instead, Of the Painted Choir, comprising songwriter Frederick Huang, Darren Simoes (The Bled/Dead Western Plains), Phillip Hanna (Tugboat/Kinch), and John Blades (Dorsey) wring out every bit of emotion and joy from the indie pop format.
"Lula, My Baby" bounces on a strident, anthemic beat, bolstered by Huang's lilting voice, while "A Spanish Mountain" is more restrained, that is until its ramshackle, ecstatic solo breakdown.
Bonus track "Mr. Bumblebee," with its whimsical Donovan/novelty jam vibe, feels unnecessary -- but mostly because the two tracks before it are so much better composed and executed.
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