Marc Benning earned his name in the underground with 34 Satellite, a band that's still afloat. But after hooking up with a pair of veterans from the Kansas combo Panel Donor -- guitarist Brandon Aikin and drummer Kliph Scurlock, who also keeps time for the Flaming Lips -- Benning decided to form another group. Flying Over Water, the debut disc by Carrier, Benning's latest collective, isn't a major departure from Satellite, but given its emotional richness, no one's likely to complain.
Tunes such as "The Paper Trail" are built from rock's rudiments, but the music is deceptively complex, vacillating between wide-screen airiness and chaotic frenzy. These juxtapositions are accentuated by psychedelicized production and strong melodies carried by Benning's sky-high tenor.
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Carrier was once a stripped-down operation, but no more. The group, which is scheduled to appear at the Larimer Lounge on August 20, now includes keyboardist Adrianne Verhoeven from the Anniversary and a revolving lineup of bassists, among them Ultimate Fakebook's Nick Colby. That's testimony to Benning's reputation, which Finally Over Water will only enhance.