It's no wonder that the Sic Alps latest album was released by Siltbreeze Records. Their music is raggedly recorded, and the artistic use of overblown feedback plays a fairly strong role in some of their most successful moments, an aesthetic shared by many a Siltbreeze band since the late eighties. But they're also a bit difficult to pin down. The best song here may be a Strapping Fieldhands cover, Description of the Harbor. They pin down the nautical folk element which made the Fieldhands unique, and may have even trumped their noise-making ability with a raucous, dare I say, focused feedback assault. The budget level recording works out to be an asset rather than a hindrance. And that's not an easy thing to pull off.
It helps that there's loads of inventive tunes here. There's everything from neo-mod rock to tape manipulation to catchy 60's-esque pop, to weird stripped down, noisy psych. It'll probably take the average listener a few spins before getting past the lo-fi production, but once it clicks, you'll realise it wouldn't work as well any other way. Why does it work? Because these guys can play, and they fuck things up in a way that doesn't sound the least bit manufactured. Everything is a bit skewed, and even though they approach some well worn musical paths, they somehow come out sounding like nobody else. A long Way Around to A Shortcut is a collection well worth your attention, maybe even surpassing the band's full length releases.