✰✰✰ — Falling somewhere
among Belle and Sebastian, Rilo Kiley and Fleetwood Mac come the Winebirds, a Portland, Ore., quintet whose breezy, sometimes hippie-like rock makes their first album “Séance Hill” a nice building block for the future. The 12 cuts mix breezy pop, earnest folkleaning ballads, and even some girl-group posturing (check out “Vanity” for more on that).
Their guy/girl vocal approach isn’t anything new but fits them just fine. Guitarist Reggie (they eschew surnames in all their press materials) has a quivering, hoarse approach to his vocals, giving them humanity, and he shines brightest on “Out in the
Van” and “The New Oregon Trail,” where he sounds like Elvis Costello. They score early with tongue-in-cheek “I Obscenity In Thy Mother’s Milk” (where Rose and Lauren add their lush harmonies) and closing ballad “The Hill” has a quiet winter’s feel to it. (BK)