Dave Fischoff, The Ox and the Rainbow (Secretly Canadian): Play it once and it will likely confound you. Play it twice, and you will fall long and hard for a cracked pop album that sometimes recalls the equally cracked psychedelic rock of the late Syd Barrett. Fischoff seems to be responsible for all the music on his album, which includes multi-tracked and treated vocals and all kinds of odd sounds, from chimes and very old-fashioned organ to trippy (not trip-hop) rhythms and weird little guitar bits and pieces. Some of Fischoff's music reminds me of blown leaves, or rain hitting a window or splattering into a puddle; of staying up way too late or waking at 3 A.M. and wandering, still half asleep, through the dark house. At times the album is quiet and contemplative ("We Break Up and Watch the Angels Swim"); at other times the pace picks up, heading into English Music Hall territory ("Propaganda for a Comic Strip"). Mostly the music here is awesomely beautiful, like that abalone shell you picked up off the beach while walking with your lover. — Michael Goldberg

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