Electric President

Sleep Well

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On their second album, Ben Cooper and Alex Kane aka Electric President pursue a vein of moody pop that could almost be to whatever was called trip-hop as the Postal Service was to synth pop -- a revisiting of a played out sound in the hopes that something could be done to re-hotwire it for a later time. Admittedly, Sleep Well is more of a fusion of that and the later work of Slowdive -- not to mention a healthy dollop of Orange Cake Mix's bedroom pop efforts, but there's a murky moodiness punctuated by low-key drum loops and shuffles which sound uncannily like an Anglophilic dream of what Bristol 1994 was supposed to be like. Combined with the delicate guitar work and softly sung vocals on songs like "We Will Walk Through Walls," the result is entrancing. Where the band best succeeds is with their ear for anthemic choruses and arrangements delivered in a gentle fashion, such as the suddenly quicker-paced, near talk/singing moments on "Ether," contrasted with calmer breaks and wordless vocals that do the Beach Boys proud without directly aping them, and the swelling vocal and keyboard conclusion to "Graves and the Infinite Arm." But perhaps the conclusion of "Lullaby" shows this best, where after an understandably quiet start the song becomes a majestic blend of rich orchestrations and singing while still sounding like a softly enveloping effort instead of a bludgeoning one. A lovely touch at the end: having one of the briskest and almost sunniest songs titled "When It's Black."

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