Of God And Science Of God And Science

[Detach; 2007]

Styles: indie rock, alternative
Others: Radiohead, Doves, Snow Patrol

Sidling out of Albuquerque on a dusty cloud of charm, Of God And Science play poignant, dreamy rock with just enough Southwestern flair to betray their roots. Although this is their first outing as a band, the members have had various attachments to other projects, including drummer Ryan Martino's tenure in the pre-Shins band Fluke, and the experience shows. The quartet patiently builds songs around the winning melodies of lead vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Matthew Dominguez, and only after creating a solid foundation do they add the subtle tweaks that give them a slight quirkiness.

A lot of the tweaks come from Julian Martinez's multi-instrumentalism. His parts are never overbearing, and add the perfect sense of ethereality to transform the music from staunch earnestness to something subtly more fantastic. His Rhodes piano aids the opener "5'7"" and later "EMEF," bringing out their shimmery, shoegazing qualities without hindering the overall urgency of the songs. The lead pedal steel line that guides the instrumental "Nations Are Cults" is just gorgeous, and helps imbue the album with that southwestern flair that sets them apart from similar bands like Doves or Snow Patrol.

Dominguez's voice is also the perfect balance of insistence and restraint to be able to pull off these songs without ever being overwrought. The touches of vocal harmony interspersed throughout are sweet and tasteful, and on "Drift Alone" give the otherwise sad ballad a lovely undercurrent of hopefulness. If there's a criticism to be leveled here it's the brevity of the album. At a mere eight songs, it would have been great to have some of the more experimental moments expanded a bit, but being left wanting more from a debut album probably isn't a bad thing.

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