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***Madison, Wisconsin group Caryatids' album The End of the Sun is a fascinatingly ambiguous, yet genuinely expressive debut; an album oddly hard to define and pin down stylistically, yet perfectly comprehensible regardless. The band takes the bleak, hard-edged worldview and coldly experimental asperity of postpunk, combines that with warm, gorgeously melancholy psychedelic atmosphere and chaotic, shoegaze-inspired guitar noise, and uses the resulting concoction as a base for everything else they do musically. And they do a lot. Caryatids can go from manifesting a Krautrock band's sense of instrumental interplay to simply rocking all out in a tunefully grungy, alt-rock way, and they make it all make sense as part of their own individual sound. All in all, it results in melodic, thoughtful, puzzling, sometimes disturbing and heavily emotional material that never takes the easy way out. The band has received comparisons to artists as fundamentally different from each other as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Jr, Cocteau Twins, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Soft Boys, Radiohead and Can. But more than anything else, these attempts at description only end up underlining the band’s essential originality. This is unique music with a lot of personality, distinguished as much by the extraordinarily fluid and intelligent muscularity of the rhythm section as Martin’s alternately plaintive and forbidding tenor and unconventional, explosive, processed guitars.