Dreampop fit for a starry night in a big feather bed, the speakers well concealed and well employed distributing the beautiful yet powerful music of this Dayton, Ohio band. This is the third album for Lab Partners, and I'm ashamed to admit I haven't heard the first two. They were released in 1999 (Lab Partners) and 2000 (Turn It On), and somehow they flew in under my radar, but I am so knocked out by this I intend to rectify the situation ASAP. If they are anywhere near as dreamy, as well connected with the vibes of space and as well written in general, I have to own them.

A description of the music? Acoustic guitars, not necessarily jangling but quite full sounding, lay out a medium-slow foundation for Michael Smith's hypnotic voice. It's often in a major key - not the norm in a minor-key driven genre, but effective in the hands of these players - yet it still has a dreamy, minor feel to it. Impressive. Bass, drums and distorted, psychedelectric guitar swell into the soundscapes that are sometimes minimalistic and sometimes thick, lush and loaded with overtones.

Now I need to get ahold of the two previous releases and study the band's progression while awaiting the 4th release. Yeah, I'm a music geek, I know, but bands like Lab Partners fascinate me. Anyone who can make music that makes me feel stoned in the heightened awareness sense of the word has my full attention.

You can order this CD directly from Big Beef Records for only 11 dollars. Visit their website at While you're there, check out the sound clips of their other bands. They have a solid stable of talent there, including Cosmik Debris favorites, The Mulchmen. But don't forget why you're there. Lab Partners is a must-have.

- DJ Johnson

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