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In the land of the Blind 

Blind Man's
Wooden Blankets EP


In the heightening national spotlight on Florida's indie rock, St. Petersburg's Blind Man's Colour is one of the more prominent names in the running. In fact, Brooklyn's Kanine Records has been making a big splash by riding bright Sunshine State beams like Colour, West Palm Beach's Surfer Blood and Orlando's Viernes (whose debut album releases June 8).

Enthusiastic and credible blog hype has thrown Blind Man's Colour into the heat of the surging psych-pop sweepstakes. But symptomatic of this new class, the duo can be indulgent in their formless ambling, something their meandering debut album, Season Dreaming, was guilty of. This follow-up was constructed from a different perspective and it shows.

It's still a dancing kaleidoscope of shimmering underwater pop songs that bask and bathe in quivering warmth. But it benefits greatly from a style that paints the canvas in a more tactile and grabbing way. While Season Dreaming employed laptop electronics and digital software, Wooden Blankets was recorded entirely on a four-track cassette recorder, with synths and beats coming from beginner keyboards and effect pedals.

Highlights include "Fantasy Coves," a wondrous and relatively clear-eyed lullaby, and "Canoe Paddles," whose hazy, rippling planes retain the band's abstract mystique but showcase their gorgeous craftsmanship better through more pronounced melody and textures. The star is "We're Treehouse Kids!" which takes the sweetly simple romance of an oldies melody and gives it a boldly fried treatment stretched to a tripped-out length.

A shorter collection, plus more punctuated lines, equals a far superior result than their debut. By bringing key elements to the fore to be more fully relished, these improved arrangements leave a deeper, sharper and more effective impression. Hopefully, Wooden Blankets is indicative of where Blind Man's Colour is headed. It's the sort of fine-tuning that will keep them from drowning in the often-undistinguished wake of Animal Collective followers.

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