Damon & Naomi

The Wondrous World of Damon & Naomi

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Despite borrowing its title from an old Sonny and Cher record, The Wondrous World of Damon & Naomi is hardly the stuff of lightweight, breezy pop fare; much too precious and affected for its own good, the album is at once the duo's most challenging and most disappointing effort, so burdened by its rigorous intellectual aspirations that its more elemental attractions get lost in the shuffle. From the needlessly ponderous "The New Historicism" to the off-putting "Tour of the World," with its ill-fitting bursts of audience applause, the songs consistently fail to congeal -- all too often, they suggest ideas and abstracts that never progressed beyond the conceptual phase. Similarly, a heavy reliance on cover material (including readings of Country Joe and the Fish's "Who Am I" and the Band's "Whispering Pines") reinforces the scarcity of strong original ideas. The Wondrous World's best moments are also its most unapologetically simple, in particular the beatific opening duet "In the Morning" along with "Pyewacket" and "New York City," a pair of sweetly elegiac showcases for Naomi Yang's angelic musings.

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