The Twin Atlas: Sun Township

The Twin Atlas's Sun Township not only references earlier styles (in addition to contemporary ones) but its three-minute, ten-song format recalls a now-distant era when bands issued half-hour albums every six months or so (Sun Township is the group's seventh full-length in five years). Primary songwriter and vocalist Sean Byrne and Lucas Zaleski make thoroughly engaging, timeless folk-pop indebted (though not beholden) to the lush, harmony-rich sound of The Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel, and Nick Drake as well as more recent figures like Dwight Twilley and Mojave 3 (an oscillating Steve Reich marimba pattern even shows up in the dreamily placid “Wrap The Days”). The bright sparkle of Rickenbacker picking drives the gently soaring “Three Loves” while “Come Inside” exudes a winsome quality that recalls the 1977 classic Twilley Don't Mind.

The Philadelphia-based duo's music is evocative, redolent of lost summer days spent staring at the sun and wading along the water's edge, with that nostalgic ambiance mirrored in the songs' lyrics. The disc doesn't sound depressing but wistful, with Byrne and Zaleski looking back with fond affection for simpler times. In any event, dates matter little when chiming electric guitars, heavenly harmonies, and stately melodies pour forth throughout blissful material like “Roll On.”

January 2006