Laptop emo? Go ahead and laugh. But while you're at it, pop in Customer, the third full-length by Collections of Colonies of Bees. An extension of the defunct post-rock group Pele (which originally featured Scott Beschta of the Promise Ring), Collections takes its predecessor's knack for computer-scrambled melody and tips the ratio in the favor of software and silicon. Like some nano-technological infection, this new disc's first nine tracks -- all titled "Fun" -- skitter with a jillion tiny appendages of spiny static and plucked guitar. And yet the arrangement is so sparse that it makes the kindred glitches of Four Tet and Manitoba seem almost overblown by comparison. The fourth "Fun," perhaps in reference to the record's name, superimposes a frantic dribble of percussion with samples of cash registers ringing and knives being sharpened. But Customer's apex is "Funeral," a cascade of achingly epic arpeggios that evoke all the longing and isolation that crappy emo bands have been trying to capture for years. Come to think of it, the term "laptop emo" falls way short: With this jarring and eloquent work, Collections of Colonies of Bees easily outstrips its roots.
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