Much has changed for Palaxy Tracks since the quartet released "The Long Wind Down" three years ago. They've migrated from Austin to Chicago, hooked up with a new label and changed guitarists. And, more relevantly, these days, singer/guitarist/songwriter Brandon Durham now drugs the Tracks' moody rock with violins, mandolins, wurlitzers, accordions and musical saws. But as "Cedarland" shows, these changes haven't greatly affected Durham's songwriting style or the band's overall sound. Durham still can't resist adopting a fake English accent while blurring the line between bitter and sweet; he's still ripping off Guided by Voices a bit too readily, and arty organ and/or guitar noise still fills the space behind his every wistful offering. These aren't complaints. Infested with reverb and stop-start riffage, "To the Chicago Abyss" might be the catchiest song ever written about an imaginary hideaway for jaded adults. Initially a sleepy, snail-strummed attempt to accept the death of a loved one, "The Awful Truth" unravels into a glorious, sound-clogged sprawl. Even when Durham puts a kink in the vibe -- singing through his teeth, Clinic-style, over the warm pop of "The Sediment" -- "Cedarland" is a great place to waste an afternoon.
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