When members of Tears Run Rings didn't play well with a big-shot producer, they threw away the old material and set off to create an album on their own. There was only one dilemma: they were now living in three different cities. This Portland and Seattle by way of L.A. collaboration was accomplished in the style of the Postal Service; occasional weekends together produced the frameworks for songs that took shape as they swapped tracks using CDRs and the good 'ole internet. Three years and one self-released EP later, Tears Run Rings presents its debut full length, Always, Sometimes, Seldom, Never.Tears Run Rings features ex-members of The Autocollants, Laura Watling, and both of the masterminds behind Shelflife Records. These pop veterans have abandoned their twee roots and traded it for dense, wall-of-sound arrangements and aggressive distorted guitars -- but that's not to say they have forgotten their pop sensibilities.TRR distances themselves from 90's shoegazers with upfront vocals and catchy single-note guitar riffs. Their creation is melodically rich, brimming with layers of boy-girl vocals inspired by the harmonies of 60s groups such as The Lennon Sisters and The Caravelles.One of the album strengths is its flow through a range of different tempos. It begins with a lulling, almost hypnotic "Happiness (part one)", explodes with the hard-driving kick of "How Will the Others Survive," then regresses into the atmospheric and melancholy "Beautiful Stranger." TRR demonstrates their affection for Moose's "Live a Little, Love a Lot" by splicing tracks together with ambient noise: church bells ring out of the end of "Mind the Wires" introducing the danceable "Run Run Run"; a cappella voices and the tap of an organ unite "The Weight of Love" and "World Upside Down." Still, the most powerful element of Always, Sometimes, Seldom, Never is the deep, heartfelt (and occasionally heartbreaking) conviction heard here. But maybe this comes natural for band members who spend most of their time wishing they could just be together.
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