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3.9 out of 5 stars7
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 22 October 2004
The self-titled debut by American trio, Espers, is without doubt my favourite album of the past year or so. Psychedelic singer-songwriter Greg Weeks with help form Meg Baird, Brooke Sietinsons and a few other friends, blend age-old instrumentation with the occasional burst of subtle fuzztone guitar.
Cello, viola, dulcimer, chimes, recorder, autoharp and folk-style fingerpicking acoustic guitar meld beautifully and effortlessly, weaving otherworldly sounds akin to the gentler moments of early 1970's English folk rock.
The opening track, 'Flowery Noontide', reminiscent of Mellow Candle, and track four, 'Voices' with it's soft psychedelic drone, are, for me, the standout tracks.
The record fades to a perfect close with gentle washes of acid guitar, phased electronics and dreaming wordless voices.
A great album deserving of a much bigger audience.
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Psych-folk trio Espers get it right on the first try in their self-titled debut. While their summery, acid-tinged kind of folk occasionally misfires on the indie-rock route, when it sticks to dilated pupils, Appalachian fiddles and sparkling chimes, it stays a good thing.

It opens with a song that pretty much sums up what the sound is all about: "Flowery Noontide." It opens with soft windchimes, right before a flute, guitar and Meg Baird's indistinct vocals kick in. It proceeds pretty much in that vein, sounding like a stoned summer afternoon at the Renaissance Festival. In short, quite good.

That lush folk sound continues throughout the album, mixing stately folk tunes with fuzz and some classical flourishes. Songs like "Meadow" err on the side of folk, despite that implosive riff. On the other hand, "Hearts and Daggers" veers over to Neutral Milk Hotel-like indie-rock, with weird flourishes and thick fuzz.

Actually, that indie-rock bent does have its weakness -- Espers sometimes seem unsure what to do with all the indie flourishes. "Riding" is downright painful to listen to at high volumes, because of a riff that completely drowns out the delicate acoustic layers.

Fortunately by the end of the album, they seem to have grasped how it should sound. And the fragile stoner folk sound is remarkably pretty, without the grounded sound that people usually associate with folk. This stuff is up in the sky, and it's staying there.

Meg Baird and Greg Weeks share vocal duties, and they both sound sweet and laid-back, although I had difficulty hearing what Meg was saying. Then again, the lyrics seem to fade away in front of the lush instrumentation -- acoustic
guitar and fiddle, often overlaid with an otherworldly flute, chimes, dulcimer and classical strings.

Espers' self-titled debut is a charming, sweet trip through layers of acid-folk. Best listened to on a lazy summer day, with wind-chimes and crickets.
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on 28 April 2012
When i first heard Espers i was convinced they were a new British folk Rock band influence by the great British folk bands of late 60' and early 70's
magic carpet springs to minds as does Spriguns, Mellow candle,Tudor Lodge,Spirogira..Im especially in love with the first Espers album from 2004..I find it hard to believe that it was not made in 1972..even the style of acoustic guitar playing and all of the instrumentation are so reminiscent of a style I thought long past and very sadly missed.
up there with the best Acoustic folk Rock without a shadow of a doubt
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Psych-folk trio Espers get it right on the first try in their self-titled debut. While their summery, acid-tinged kind of folk occasionally misfires on the indie-rock route, when it sticks to dilated pupils, Appalachian fiddles and sparkling chimes, it stays a good thing.

It opens with a song that pretty much sums up what the sound is all about: "Flowery Noontide." It opens with soft windchimes, right before a flute, guitar and Meg Baird's indistinct vocals kick in. It proceeds pretty much in that vein, sounding like a stoned summer afternoon at the Renaissance Festival. In short, quite good.

That lush folk sound continues throughout the album, mixing stately folk tunes with fuzz and some classical flourishes. Songs like "Meadow" err on the side of folk, despite that implosive riff. On the other hand, "Hearts and Daggers" veers over to Neutral Milk Hotel-like indie-rock, with weird flourishes and thick fuzz.

Actually, that indie-rock bent does have its weakness -- Espers sometimes seem unsure what to do with all the indie flourishes. "Riding" is downright painful to listen to at high volumes, because of a riff that completely drowns out the delicate acoustic layers.

Fortunately by the end of the album, they seem to have grasped how it should sound. And the fragile stoner folk sound is remarkably pretty, without the grounded sound that people usually associate with folk. This stuff is up in the sky, and it's staying there.

Meg Baird and Greg Weeks share vocal duties, and they both sound sweet and laid-back, although I had difficulty hearing what Meg was saying. Then again, the lyrics seem to fade away in front of the lush instrumentation -- acoustic

guitar and fiddle, often overlaid with an otherworldly flute, chimes, dulcimer and classical strings.

Espers' self-titled debut is a charming, sweet trip through layers of acid-folk. Best listened to on a lazy summer day, with wind-chimes and crickets.
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on 16 September 2015
Not sure what to think, but well worth pursuing.
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on 10 December 2008
I bought this because I loved "Flowery Noontide", sadly it is about the only good track on the album: Worse still some bloke sings half the songs... hmmm. Thin and amateurish basically, although strangely quite ethereally attractive in a reinvented west coast stoned hippy way...
Oh, and I thought hey its their first album, the second one will be better.. sadly not so
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on 15 March 2011
It's a very pretty album that recreates the laid-back stonedness of the late 60s but it lacks any edginess and, therefore, comes across as rather fey. This Philadelphia band is rather like the cream cheese - smooth, bland and cloying, but enjoyable in small quantities.
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