Drag City again delivers yet another stunning release, this time by the Philidelphia-based band, Espers. I was not previously familiar with this group, but was instantly bowled over by their spider-web delicacy and gorgeously textured folk-pop. Immediately reminiscent of late '60s /early '70s British folk outfits like Fairport Convention and Pentangle, Espers manage to deliver a dazzling array of lush semi-psychedelic songs, glisteningly perfect.

Pigeonholing Espers a folk band sells them short and casting them lazily as a psychedelic folk band is just too easy. There is an effortlessness that is almost disarming, the 10 songs on the disc illuminated, haunting, pitch-perfect and aurally exquisite.

Comparisons between Meg Baird and Sandy Denny are unavoidable, but that is not a bad thing. Baird's voice is a bit more delicate than Denny's, and is the perfect fit with Greg Weeks' vision and production. Best surprise of the year by far. [Drag City]

-Daniel House



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