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Let Your Heart Draw a Line

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Album Review

The fourth album by the semi-spin-off Hood project finds the Remote Viewer crew (with the assistance of Nicola Hodgkinson on vocals, notably on "Take Your Lights With You") pursuing its understatedly experimental muse as doggedly as the more well-known act, and with equally enjoyable results. That there's a reasonable amount of crossover in sound is to be expected, but the more open embrace of electronic components allows the band both its own identity as well as a chance to defy even those expectations. Thus, opening song "They're Closing Down the Shop" consists at first solely of steadily plucked guitar and bass before a liquid swirl of sampled tones appears. Elsewhere the way the band takes what would have been a stereotypically lo-fi approach in past years (or releases) and tweaks it often succeeds well — the autoharp/music box roughness played for loops on "Sometimes, You Can't Decide," the acoustic guitar/muffled beatbox of "The Fucking Bleeding Hearts Brigade." On songs like "To Completion" and "It's So Funny How We Don't Talk Anymore," Let Your Heart Draw a Line recalls in spirit the same sense of gently investigative blends Radiohead made famous with Kid A — less a sign of the Remote Viewer following the lead of the more well-known act than continuing on its previous path, but such is the nature of relative fame. If the mostly instrumental Let Your Heart has a slight downside, it's by steering generally clear of Hood's underestimated ability with ear-catching melodies, or creating more sublimated versions of the same (as on "Last Night You Said Goodbye, Now It Seems Years"). Getting the full measure of it takes a little more patience as a result, but it is worth it.

Let Your Heart Draw a Line, The Remote Viewer
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