Originally released way back in 2004 by the 679 label in the UK, the debut from Texan/British psych-pop crew the Earlies was lauded on both sides of the Atlantic even before Secretly Canadian decided to put it out in North America. It's a lovely album, but not necessarily the monumental orchestral triumph the hype would have you believe. Like the Magic Numbers, the Earlies refract classic California pop through an outsider's lens, although their focus is on trippy Byrdsian jingle-jangle folk and swirling, harmony-layered Beach Boys orchestrations. The songs have an existential bent, occasionally employing tasteful dollops of religious iconography to suggest spiritual hunger, while Brandon Carr's thin vocal melodies are dreamy and work well with the falsetto bits. Still, I can't help feeling like there's too much of a muchness; every single track is packed to the gills with ornate instrumentation, from bassoon bleats to twinkly chimes, in a way that makes me yearn for more breathing room.