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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Poi Dog Pondering

7 (Platetectonic Music)

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  One-time Columbia recording artists Poi Dog Pondering return with their first studio effort in five years, seemingly entering a third stage of the group's 20-plus years on the road of rock ’n’ roll: Formed as a world-infused, folk-rock outfit in Hawaii, their following days in Austin, Texas, and Chicago yielded dance and electronic-tinged forays.

  Now though, having spent the last couple of years digesting and taking cues from the Arcade Fire, the three original members (plus newcomers) offer a soul and groove-heavy seventh album. 7 wallows in lush string arrangements, horns and adult contemporary, middle-of-the-road rock.

  Via the earthiness of Rusted Root and the sensibilities of Coldplay or U2 in its better moments, 7 alsooffers indie-striving droners ("Butterflies"), a faux Al Green crooner ("Baby Together"), Springsteen-esque angst ("Lemon Drop Man") and semiliterate offerings of midtempo twang that occasionally reach Poi's earnest yearning for Midwestern, button-down soul.