June 17th, 2009 | Album reviews

Download: Luke Top “Lord, Save Me From This Valley”


(from Friends out June 23 on Slow Death)

Do you love your friends “more than lightning?” Are they “much more than a passing storm?” If so, perhaps they are also Friends with Luke Top and you can all connect for brunch, or form another band. It seems that everything Luke Top does seats a party of at least ten, be it with Fool’s Gold or this project, which also involves Fool’s Lewis Pesacov, Giant Drag’s Micah Calabrese, Cass McCombs, and Matt Popieluch and Ariel Rechtshaid of Foreign Born, to name a few—almost like a disease, each of these guys spreads his germs around town in different bands and projects. But rather than bring us any closer to swine flu, Luke Top’s music wants to make happy. It’s the sound of driving nowhere on a sunny afternoon. Opener “Lord, Save Me From This Valley” starts the car, then “Infant Rose” pulls the top down, shaking off a few leaves and dried berries before we hit the coastal highway. We arrive at title track, “Friends,” in third gear, jangling tambourine, handclaps, and vocal harmonies. While instruments pile up over the course of the album, adding horns and strings and even some nature sounds to the blend, every note fits in a streamline design: the road is clear, the car is clean, and the passengers smile behind their sunglasses.

—Daiana Feuer