Minor Revival

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Sodastream's Minor Revival certainly references the downcast qualities of past work like Hill for Company. "Horses," for example, uses viola, urgent piano, and Pete Cohen's double bass to add real weight to Karl Smith's cracking vocal. However, a song later, the same instruments are joining with tinny keyboards and jangling guitar for something decidedly more upbeat. Nice filter on the vocal, too. "Blinky"'s pocket trumpet is just perfect, rising to meet Smith's chorus vocal. "Why hold steady when tomorrow's always turning bad?" he sings, but you begin to detect a little of the Australians' dryly sardonic humor here, because it's just too pretty a little pop song to be depressing. Though Sodastream continues to fall comfortably in line with the indie twee establishment, it's also delivered another strong set of songs, this time around informed with plenty of hope. Go ahead, check out "Chorus Line" and try not to sigh. "I want to meet in America," Smith says elsewhere, and proceeds through a pleasant litany of all the fun things to do there. In this way, Minor Revival is a simple yet totally effective representation of Smith and Cohen's straightforwardly gentle style. Its homey, organic production is also a huge plus. Other album highlights include the piano and double bass' playfully interlocking rhythms on "Nervous," and the lush sway of "Constant Ships," which sounds like a band of rustic intellectuals covering the Dirty Three.

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