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Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities
Ghostly, 2008

"Lucas" is a concept album of sorts about a phantasmagorical land ruled by a king who fixes the crooked smiles of his subjects – but that's not important right now. What you need to know is that Brooklyn-based Skeletons leader Matt Mehlan and his co-conspirators the Kings of All Cities have assembled a very fine orchestrated left-field technicolour pop album. Instead of losing the run of itself in such an ambitious pursuit (like the sometimes claustrophobically cloying arrangements of Sufjan Stevens) "Lucas" is founded on the infectious Valhallic voodoo grooves of Moondog with traces of Sun Ra's skronk action and captures both the joyous communal campfire vibe of Animal Collective and the kaleidoscopic junkyard aesthetic of Neutral Milk Hotel. The albums centerpiece "Fake Tits" is a widescreen production with wild eyed polyrhythms and features the agreeable sentiments "It's not that hard to disappear, flush your phone down the toilet, find your way out the window, throw your wallet in the river." This album was conceived on a long drive through Midwestern America and upon surrendering to its woozy charms you'll realize that you're definitely not in Kansas anymore…

By Keith Wallace.
April 8, 2008

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