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Local quintet Left on Vermont releases debut EP

Friday, February 4, 2011; T06

LEFT ON VERMONT "Left on Vermont"

Kindred spirits: Feist, Velocity Girl, Belly

Show: With the Public Good and the Crash Take-Off on Friday at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Show starts at 9:30 p.m. 202-388-7625. www.rockandrollhoteldc.com. $10.

On its eponymous debut EP, local quintet Left on Vermont marries the pop sensibilities of Velocity Girl with the Beach Boys' laid-back breeziness. The five songs showcase the group's uptempo songwriting style, but the real cornerstone of its sound is the interplay between vocalists Eugene Lee and Erin Weston.

Where Lee's voice has a dry, spoken quality (think: Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik), Weston's is airier and more ethereal. That combination creates a rippling texture on the duet "See You Through" as Weston's vocal line floats dreamily over Lee's more thoughtful tone.

More often, though, the band sticks to just one vocalist per song. Weston takes the lead on "Oh Hello," emphasizing the Feist-like qualities of her voice by weaving a cover of "Mushaboom" into the band's original piece. She offers a pensive take on Feist's bouncy melody, meshing that song seamlessly into the forlorn feel of the rest of the track. Weston is as ghostly on "Sweet Tea" as Lee is desperate on "Nothing Changes," but the real treat is the depth that each singer brings out in the other.

- Catherine P. Lewis

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