by Robert Bell
9 p.m. Stickyz. $5.
As promised some months back, the guys from The See have emerged from the studio cocoon to deliver their first long-player, "Pretending and Ending." We got a copy of the album here at Times HQ and after a few spins, it's undeniable that this is one of the best-sounding albums to come out of Little Rock since, well, ever.
The fact that the songs are great doesn't hurt either, but I really can't overstate the quality of production going on here. It's big-sounding like the best Arcade Fire tracks, but unlike that crew of Canucks, The See's big-sounding-ness skews joyful and unpretentious. I way dig those "whoa-oh" and "Hey!" group choruses on, respectively, "Storytelling" and "Hey."
But the album has peaks and valleys; it's not turned up full-blast the whole time. There's a contemplative feel throughout, like the party's over and it's kind of a bummer, but everything is going to be all right. "I Missed It" is an understated lamentation underpinned with strings and piano and which culminates with a slow build and a guitar solo that has just the right touch of '80s radio rock. "Curtains" closes things out on a crashing note, with a fury of drum fills and screeching guitars.
Opening the show is the charmingly left-field pop act Sea Nanners.
Check out "Bring it Back" by The See after the jump.