In the race to concoct this decade's most affecting brand of loping, dreamy, echoing, country-tinged pop-rock, the San Francisco quintet El Capitan finishes behind My Morning Jacket and Band Of Horses—but not well behind. The band's third album, Stickeen, suffers some from Ryan Henry's shaky vocals, and a tendency toward wide-eyed boyishness more suited to tweecore than muscular roots music. But El Capitan has perfected the cavernous electric guitar sound, the warm organ fills and bashing percussion. And like nearly every other band of its post-Neil-Young ilk, El Capitan excels at ballads, like the dynamic, pretty "Wait On Me," which sounds more like a whispered prayer than a command.

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