Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull and solo artist Kevin Devine first crossed paths in 2007, when both were tapped as openers for Brand New’s spring tour. Although they released a split EP several years later, this self-titled album is the duo’s first collaborative project, with both musicians sharing lead vocals and songwriting duties. The track list is split in half: Devine contributes five new tunes, most of them acoustic, introspective, indie folk ballads in the vein of Elliott Smith; and Hull offers an equal amount of noisy, messy pop/rock in return. Although they play on each other’s material, the two don’t carve out a unique sound as much as adapt to each other’s style, and this disc often sounds like another split EP as opposed to a conflation of talents. On album highlights like “Holding Down the Laughter,” though, Hull and Devine find a common groove, mixing cheesy ‘70s keyboards and lo-fi charm with earnest, summery pop hooks.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey