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Living Rooms sounds like Animal Collective ... almost 

But the Atlanta trio considers the comparison a compliment

It is often said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Despite the warm reception that Atlanta trio Living Rooms has received during its short 10 months together, fans and detractors alike have uttered the same criticism: They sound like Animal Collective. Comparisons to AC's blissed-out clutter are hard to avoid for Seth Bolton (vocals, sampler, beats), Ryan Luce (guitar, synthesizer), and Sean Telo (sampler, effects); even they don't deny the allegation.

"They are our biggest influence," Bolton says. "People hear similar things when we play and think Animal Collective because they've received so much notice. It's a compliment, actually."

Even their single-file, navel-gazing stage presence bares a resemblance to AC's lineup, which is just another hazard of the trade. "We have the same kind of setup that they use, and really there's no other way to do what we do," Bolton says. "Making music with samplers is like doing math when playing live," he adds. "You can't get into a groove like you can with a guitar, because you're thinking about procedures, and if you hit the wrong sample you can't play another note; you've ruined the whole song." Luce reiterates the need for concentration during their shows. "It's the fear of messing up that drives everything we do."

The group released its debut Family Taste 7-inch (Double Phantom) this month, which stands as a substantial document of the band's true identity and even dispels a bit of the Animal Collective chatter. On the A-side, the dark, meandering "Error" pits bubbling electronics over an aching voice that intentionally blends into a mélange of serene and abrasive textures. The brighter bounce of "How You Do It" builds on obtuse melodies that flow naturally into each other under a dull, nonintrusive hue of cottage production. It's a summery sound that's never quite as hippy-dippy as Animal Collective, but definitely cut from the same cloth.

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