Album: Damon & Naomi, More Sad Hits (20/20/20)

Following the break-up of slowcore pioneers Galaxie 500, Naomi Yang and Damon Krukowski eschewed music in order to pursue other artistic interests, until their old producer Kramer badgered them enough to get back in a studio.

The result was More Sad Hits, an achingly beautiful album of studious simplicity, reflecting in part the influence of Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom, to which they had been listening obsessively. It's aptly titled: featuring Yang's plaintive vocal over rudimentary guitar strummage, the opening track "E.T.A." evokes the situation of losing a loved one in an air crash, while "Little Red Record Co" mournfully considers the contradiction of the pop industry operating at the nexus of culture and commerce, questioning the efficacy of ambition as a spur to creativity. The melancholy tone continues through tracks like the prescient "Information Age", before finding redemption of sorts in the nobility of endurance suggested in "Once More". Their voices are perfectly attuned to the material, Yang's uninflected innocence pairing seamlessly with Krukowski's dismayed-choirboy tones, while the sparse basic arrangements offer Kramer full rein to indulge his psych-rock leanings, including passages of backwards guitar, washes of mellotron and Hammond organ, and operatic samples in the manner of Holger Czukay.

Pick of the album:'Once More', 'Little Red Record Co', 'Information Age', 'E.T.A.'

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