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Sweetly challenging

Inva de Siva
Inva de Siva
By Years Around the Sun

Manaloft Records: 2008

This review first appeared in the May 8, 2008 issue of the North County Times.

Blending the noir atmosphere and lush melodicism of 1980s new romantic with a touch of the edginess of alt rock, San Diego's Years Around the Sun has produced a second album that is polished, confident and full of great pop songs.

Thickly arranged with a nice, fat sound to the mix, "Inva de Siva" has the kind of plush-pile wall of sound that is pure luxury on the ears. Intricate instrumental passages are brought prominently to the front, with echoed vocal harmonies providing aural depth.

All of that shows merely that the CD producer and mixing engineer know their stuff.

What makes the album as good as it is are the songs written by bassist Dylan Raasch and guitarist Ronnie Dudek, who also share the lead singing. Moody and quirky in arrangement, the songs are so gorgeously melodic that they'd probably be too sweet were it not for the off-centered playing.

As it is, the combination of accessible melodies and challenging arrangements makes for an album as interesting as it is easy on the ears.