Espers' III

Drag City CD

Given the number of solo efforts and other bands that spinoff from Philadelphia-based outfit Espers, it’s fair to say that they are the supergroup of the city’s burgeoning psych-folk scene. Espers started out as a trio with frequent guests. On their latest LP, III, they’ve grown to a quintet: Greg Weeks, Meg Baird, Helen Espvall, Otto Hauser, Brooke Sietinsons. Correspondingly, their sonic and musical reach has grown as well.
Thus, the music-making shines on “I can’t see Clear,” a ’60s-inspired pop-folk with white-hot guitar breaks offsetting amiable duet vocals. But Espers has also got a penchant for drone-heavy improvisation and Eastern-tinged percussion, exhibited on “Colony.” When the vocals enter, they add a whirling dervish of trippy harmonies.
“Another Moon Song” finds the band stretching out on an expansive jam with some impressive long-form guitar solos. There’s even a bit of pastoral-prog mysticism and atmospheric strings to be found on “Trollslända.”
While III finds Espers as elusive to pin down as ever, they prove equally impressive in each of their many guises.