Airport Girl

Slow Light

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Airport Girl have eased up on the eclectic style-shifting that marked Honey, I'm an Artist and Do You Dream in Color for their second full-length album, Slow Light, though at the same time the British sextet is clearly mastering their chosen style of lovely but downbeat mid-tempo indie pop. Which isn't to say that Slow Light sounds monochromatic; the old-school synthesizer effects on "Ode to the City" and the lonely trumpet and steel guitar of "I've Seen Mexico" demonstrate how these musicians have learned to put fresh textures into their arrangements, and the simple but straightforward pop of "Don't Let Me Down Again" wouldn't feel out of place on Lloyd Cole's first album. Slow Light's dour mood never really lifts over the course of its 11 tracks (despite the increased volume and fuzzy guitars of the finale "Bullfighting"), but the cumulative effect is thoughtfully contemplative rather than just bummed out, and the spare but eloquent music generates an ascetic beauty that's truly effecting. The musicians bring off these songs with understated brilliance (especially vocalist and guitarist Robert Price and keyboard man David Hill) and what could have been mere navel-gazing from other musicians is transformed into something eloquent and quietly remarkable; this is music for the middle of the night at its best.

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