First released in 2006, then reissued in August 2008 by Bar None, Starling Electric's debut album, Clouded Staircase, belongs in the same genre of lo-fi, chopped-up power-pop pioneered by Guided By Voices, except that Starling Electric bandleader Caleb Dillon has a different set of obsessions than GBV's Robert Pollard. Pollard is all about The Who, The Beatles, and trace elements of '70s prog; Dillon prefers the sunny sounds of '60s SoCal. Clouded Staircase moves freely from the baroque Beach Boys riff of "Camp-Fire" to the sparkly guitar-pop of "Black Ghost/Black Girl," and though the album is sometimes so eclectic in approach that it lacks focus, Starling Electric holds the record together with the quality of its performance—far more intricate and accomplished than the average indie-rock act—and the breadth of its enthusiasm. Listening to this album is a lot like spending a happy afternoon with a group of unpretentious archivists as they pull one discovery after another out of their collections, saying, "Yes, but have you heard this?"