ALBUM REVIEW: "Found Recordings From The Panda Valley Mining Company c.1931" by Dubious Ranger

May 16. 2012 | By Rebecca McCann

Comprised of former classical pianist Alexander Eccles and proving that household appliances are not only useful in the kitchen, Dubious Ranger are an indie-rock outfit from San Francisco with a fresh sound in a decade of electro and synth-heavy tunes. Comparisons to Beck are spot on and their sexy sound could be from the 1990s, on the soundtrack to “Cruel Intentions.”

Dubious Ranger's latest album is a mouthful – Found Recordings From The Panda Valley Mining Company c.1931<

/em> – and offers a neat 12-stack of bluesy electrified art-rock.

The opening track is all distorted vocals and bluesy guitar riff that is grimy in a really good way. This contrasts with the soothing “1999,” which opens with a moody guitar hook layered over delicate minor piano chords. The sad melody is rich with vocal harmonies in the chorus. The highlight is easily the electric guitar, which ceaselessly wanders around the piano and the melody, culminating in a chilling improvisational solo at the bridge.

“The Mayor” is another standout, rocking along at a steady rhythm with repeated infectious melodies and a grunge feel that is nostalgic for decades past. Fittingly, the album ends with solo piano by Eccles, a reprise of his personal favorite “1999.”

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