The sound of Crayon Jewels, the latest, not-quite-full-length album by Memphis Pencils, is Sufjan Stevens filtered through the Mountain Goats' boom box and remixed with Sérgio Mendes and Brasil '66 playing in the background. The choral voices, French horns, harmoniums, glockenspiel and lounge-jazz grooves redeem the predominantly twee-verby aesthetic and the stubborn refusal to complete songs with titles such as "Janet Reno Yawning." So the Fayetteville, Arkansas, group, led by founders Martin Bemberg and Reed Faitak, tosses its sonic pebbles, whirls about and stretches its limbs to land wherever luck, imagination and "Vote for Pedro" fan sites such as OurStage dictate. The Memphis Pencils' psychedelic pop may just be playful and artful enough to leap ahead of the post-Animal Collective bandwagon.
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