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Musee Mechanique Hold This Ghost**

Local electronic-folk outfit Musee Mechanique’s full-length debut sounds like the soundtrack to a movie that hasn’t been made and possibly never could be made. This Portland five piece brings an amalgamation of odd and traditional instruments to each of their myriad soundscapes.

They have been compared to everyone from Sufjan Stevens to Beirut to Air, and while there are hints of many of those bands, Musee Mechanique’s diversity doesn’t quite stick. There’s a danger when trying to incorporate as many instruments as you can into a song that you can alienate yourself from your listener.

With so many local stars lending a hand on this album (Laura Gibson, Rachel Blumberg, Doug Jenkins, among others) it would seem like the LP should become nothing but closer and tighter knit. But the tracks go the other way. While the arrangements are lovely more often than not, they circle and swirl away from the listener. They are at their best when using the range of their musical talents subtly and not to overpower; when they are not floating off into musical space.

I wanted to float away with these songs but simply couldn’t take the first leap. This ghost of an album is simply too strange to hold. -Alex Huebsch

Subways All or Nothing ****

Have you ever been punched in the face and really liked it?

The Subway’s new album, All or Nothing, does this to the listener about 10 different times. Each track on this U.K.-bred trio’s latest LP shouts at you to rock the party or die. These are not songs that are going to get stuck in your head.

They are about being in the raw, youthful, sweaty moment, and after each track rushes by you (or over you) you cannot help but feel a supreme catharsis. They are everything one wants from a dirty U.K. rock band but they also have enough pop sensibilities to keep you returning to the album. Taking pages from grunge bands such as Nirvana, it only made sense to go to a producer that had worked with said Teen Spiriters.

Butch Vig (who claims Smashing Pumpkins producing credits as well) took the Subways’ sound and injected it with steroids while also leveling it out. Taking a few pages from Oasis to slow the album down a bit gives it a refreshing sense of pacing. But it is the heavy guitar with great hooks that makes this album great.

Standout tracks include: “Girls and Boys”, “Shake! Shake!” and “Turnaround.” In “Shake! Shake!” their chorus belts “I’m calling out to you from the basement/I got a need to feel so I shake shake!” They might be in a basement somewhere but we can hear the Subways loud and clear.-Alex Huebsch