Troubled Hubble

Troubled Hubble's debut is something of a revival of the suburban psychedelia practiced by '90s indie bands such as Pavement, but with a literate new twist. The Chicago-area quartet's music is, characteristically, a weave of trebly guitars stitched with strings and eclectic snatches of sound. Singer Chris Otepka declaims up top with what seems at first to be the loopy loose-associations of his predecessors -- though on closer inspection, he's reciting breathlessly precise, often poignant verse. The result sometimes settles into lazy-day fantasies, as in the precious-as-it-sounds "I'm Pretty Sure I Can See Molecules," that are a touch too, well, microscopic for urgent times begging for a bigger picture than did 1997. But along the way, there are plainly poetic little couplets, such as: "It's hopeful to know you're there for me/As a friend with benefits, or a friend in need." And when Otepka captures an idea, as in the gorgeous travelogue "Floribraska," he shows the colors of that rare creature, the great songwriter.

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