Gulp

All Good Wishes

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    8
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Gulp's debut album, Season Sun, was a dreamy, spacy slice of relaxed summertime breezes and gentle psychedelia, and their second album is more of the same, only a little more expansive and sure-handed. All Good Wishes finds the quartet in full control of their deceptively simple vintage synth-driven sound, which matches gleamingly smooth surfaces with softly billowing vocals and dubby echoes with propulsive drums, while digging below those surfaces to uncover some real emotion. Along with the sunlight-bright melodies, there's some melancholy in the bubbly motorik pop tracks this time around, with vocalist Lindsey Leven's smoky tones packing a tender punch on "Claudia" and the phaser-drenched "I Dream of Your Song." Also, a little bit of ice on "Morning Velvet Sky," which sounds like classic Ladytron, and "Silver Tides," where her vocals are partially fed through a machine. Leven really gets to show off her range on the batch of ballads, ranging from the slow-motion space country weeper "Spend Time Right Here with You" and the (bad) dream-like wash of "All Good Wishes," which sounds like a This Mortal Coil track with Julee Cruise behind the mike, to the echoing, Goldfrapp-ian "Beam," which serves as the album's emotional center. These tracks give the album some needed depth, shading, and sonic variety, helping to offset the sweetness and light of the poppier songs. Gulp show that they aren't just masters of cheerful avant pop; they can do other things at a high skill level, too. It makes for a well-balanced listening experience that fans of Broadcast or any of the other bands mentioned above would certainly find right up their alley.

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