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Tall Firs: Too Old To Die Young

B-

Tall Firs

Album: Too Old To Die Young
Label: Ecstatic Peace

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It'd probably kill Thurston Moore to admit that he signed Tall Firs to his Ecstatic Peace label based on one simple fact: The band's singer-guitarists Aaron Mullan and Dave Mies sound—vocally and instrumentally—like Moore and his Sonic Youth comrade Lee Ranaldo. Tall Firs' sophomore disc, Too Old To Die Young, is so early-'90s indie, it almost hurts: Tangled guitars, sweet dissonance, and intensely bored singing all struggle lackadaisically for dominance, and the two songwriters' lyrics grasp for the sublime in the mundane. It's a pretty but barely coherent sprawl, and new drummer Ryan Sawyer unhinges it further with a misplaced jazzy restlessness that hints even he is impatiently waiting for the songs to go somewhere. In spite of its blatant Sonic Youth biting—which is actually kind of refreshing—there are a lot of gorgeous and even heart-stopping moments on Too Old To Die Young. It's just a shame so few of its strengths can figure out how to work together.