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Music Heard Far Off

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Album Review

The fourth album by the Child Readers finds the duo of Loren Chasse and Jason Honea presenting shorter songs in comparison to some of their past efforts, which often could break the ten-minute mark. Call it going "pop," in their own dreamily tweaked way, finding the spots where lo-fi as a continuing aesthetic and psychedelic experimentation meet and mesh. Beginning with the fuzz and toy piano of "Infant Wing," Chasse and Honea work on creating a mostly successful exploration of that approach, a listen that's not monumental but is not trying to be. Sometimes all it takes is a little suggestion via the titles — "The Plague Angel," the longest track on the album at six minutes, does not sound much different from the other blends of echo, washes of sound, crackling murk, and more on the album, but the threatening title adds an air of ominous foreboding that's entrancing, verbal suggestion driving a wholly instrumental piece. While an aura of distortion and distance hovers throughout the album, not everything is self-consciously gauzy — "A Tree Waits" is the first "clear" song on the album and, though brief, shows how the duo can explore a different style as desired, as does the first half of "A Loved Thing/Gull's Blood" immediately thereafter, with clattering and clunking and electronic beats filling the mix. Some numbers sound like pleasant enough improvisations that appear and then leave with little impact, such as "Girls and Shadows," making others, like "Underground Colors," with a beautiful, fragile vocal over dark, mysterious chimes — as if Eyeless in Gaza were backed by This Kind of Punishment — shine out all the more strongly.

Music Heard Far Off, The Child Readers
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