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Veelee's The Future Sight 

(Grip Tapes)

The first release by Chapel Hill duo Veelee was called Three Sides, a reference, of course, to the captivating little CD-R's trio of tracks, not to the music itself. The tunes were actually fairly uniform, showcasing an intriguing new pop act that mixed chiming guitars with antiphonal harmonies and staggered, oddball rhythms—and, pretty much, just that. Perhaps we might happily redub The Future Sight, the band's first LP, Seven Sides, as much for its track count (seven) as the surprising number of approaches they offer through these smart 29 minutes (again, seven). From the radiant seven-minute build of "Animal Dreams" to the spunky two-minute shout-out-loud "When You Gonna Come Home?" Veelee never offers the same approach twice. Released only a little more than a year after Three Sides, it's a stunning statement, the sort of proper debut that no amount of potential might have predicted.

Veelee is drummer Ginger Wagg and guitarist Matthew Park. They both sing and switch instruments, with Wagg adding flourishes with a xylophone and Park coaxing long tones from a little organ. But that low membership seems more of a catalyst for risk than for limitation: Some songs, like "When You Gonna Come Home?" develop quickly, though foreboding opener "Blood's Sake" reveals its ploy gradually, drums and the second guitar falling into place only after the first minute. On "Animal Dreams," a keyboard drone serves as the core over which the song is built; its chaser, "Amber," uses a similarly long tone as an invocation and benediction, appropriately bookending Wagg's ode to perseverance. And on "Line," a simple switch to an acoustic guitar offers the perfect diversion. It's the sort of twisted pop trinket Pinback might have once made, the verses unfurling flatly in close harmony, like mantras. Strings lift through the chorus, though, and Wagg and Park surface above them, emphasizing the song's stepwise motion. Speaking of steps, Veelee seems to have skipped several. The Future Sight sets its aims on real pop complexity, and lands.

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