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Album review: Everest's 'On Approach'

Everest_240+ The five local boys who comprise Everest paint their second album with images of Midwestern towns and melting, snow-capped skyscrapers. Home base may be Los Angeles, but Everest has designs on something a bit more wide open.

In the tradition of our city's Laurel Canyon musicians, Everest conjures the sound of a more rural America, and often with studied romanticism. With "On Approach," released on Neil Young-affiliated Vapor Records, Everest attempts to view folk rock at its most expansive. "Tall Buildings" recalls "Imagine"-era John Lennon, with acoustics and harmonies lifted by a graceful organ, and "Dots" brings to mind Wilco's Jay Bennett-bolstered arrangements, as a small string section gradually envelopes the calm-voiced Russell Pollard.

The band shows off a more feisty side on album opener "Let Go," in which a trembling keyboard gets rattled by a rhythmic thundercloud and Pollard's vocals take on more bite. One can't help but wish Everest had further explored the track's spaced-out tension.

As it stands, Everest is a working band's band (indeed, each member is a veteran of the local rock scene), and the light atmospherics and deliberate musicianship will no doubt please many a music supervisor. Even when Everest touches on bar-band blues on "I've Had This Feeling Before," it's more careful than raucous, and by the time the band reaches the slide-enhanced album midpoint that is "East Illinois," Everest has settled into a comfortable routine.

—Todd Martens

"On Approach"
Vapor Records/Warner Bros.
Two stars (Out of four)

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