Signer

The New Face of Smiling

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The third album by New Zealand's Bevan Smith under his Signer nom de electronique continues the artful blending of folkish acoustic guitars, glitchy electronic beats, and slightly mournful minor-key indie pop tunes that have been Smith's raison d'ĂȘtre all along. This time, Smith has slightly rounded the edges of his electronics, adding judicious amounts of reverb and phasing to soften the occasionally harsh sounds; on tracks like "Komputa Ga Bukowarera," the results sound rather like My Bloody Valentine's guitar-centric soundscapes updated for the laptop generation. It's a blend that works more often than not, whether on tracks as blissed-out as the dreamy opener "Low Light Sleep" or as moody and on-edge as "You're Killing Us Helen," which features a skirling violin part and deliberately lo-fi rhythm box that recalls Smith's fellow Kiwi experimentalists Alastair Galbraith and Chris Knox. Those comparisons are key; despite Smith's surface similarities to the likes of Flying Saucer Attack or Greg Davis, Signer is very much in the long tradition of New Zealand eccentrics.

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