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Ghosts of Pasha, The Pig Sun

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(Our Friend the Atom Recordings, CD)

Vermont's Ghosts of Pasha have had an interesting ride since coming together in 2003. Due to a prank pulled on the group by a Big Apple comedy troupe, they've been mentioned in both Rolling Stone and Spin magazines. The incident was later recounted on "This American Life," a popular NPR radio program. Any press is good press, as they say.

In the wake of the media hoopla, GOP lost a couple of members. The current incarnation comprises drummer-keyboardist-vocalist Milo Finch and singer-guitarist-clarinetist-programmer Chris Partyka. Previously, the band traded in exploratory indie-rock. Now they're a loose psych-pop act, with the emphasis on loose.

Disjointed guitars and trashy drums form the foundation of opener "Expect Delays." The song's vocals ape indie hero Steve Malkmus of Pavement, but the music itself is raggedly original.

"Fiftys and Fives" features breathy "oohs" and lounge-worthy clarinet. "I'm a good boy now / and I don't want to make a scene," GOP croon over lazy acoustic strums and barebones percussion.

A wash of reverby vocals make "Weird Birds" a psychedelic treat. The title might be a tribute to '60s legends The Byrds; the singing reminds me of that band's shimmering harmonies.

At a minute and 16 seconds, the title track is a sliver of sonic strangeness. In fact, I had to play it a few times before its bizarre beauty was revealed. Now it's in my iPod.

Interestingly, Pig Sun seems to lose fidelity as it progresses. "Don't Want No Candy," for example, is scuffed as hell. Once again, the vocals mimic Malkmus; GOP would be well served to find a less obvious artist to impersonate.

"If I found my latchkey girl, I wouldn't have to be so bad anymore," the band sings on "This Is E Boozler." Despite some deliberately skewed sounds, it's actually a lovely ballad.

"Geigerball" is a disheveled wonder, while "Pretty Eyes" comes across like a sonically challenged Grandaddy. "Chime Volcano" is one of the disc's more active numbers, with minor-key guitar arpeggios and a vigorous beat.

"Under Age Drinking" features indiscernible backing instrumentation and spoken-word bits. With its quasi-ironic references to Ghostbusters and eating pasta, the tune is a ready-made slacker anthem.

The Pig Sun is a decent lo-fi pop release. If not for the pronounced Malkmus influence, it would even be unique. Hear Ghosts of Pasha live at Burlington's Radio Bean on Sunday, June 16.

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