Karl Blau

Beneath Waves

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As a collection of songs, Karl Blau's third album was along the same lines as his previous efforts: humble, likable, whimsical, and slightly peculiar. There wasn't as much musical eclecticism to the production and instrumentation as there was in some of his previous projects, though it retains the informal feeling characteristic of many K and Knw-Yr-Own releases coming out of Washington state. If you're a fan of Brian Wilson in his somewhat burned-out period, this might be for you, as it has a similar modest making-music-for-myself feel. Blau's not as burned out as Wilson, though; he's just content to warble bemusedly about simple pleasures and enigmas, the basic rock production flavored by some low-key orchestration suitable to the daydreaming gait of the material. As daydreaming odes go, "Shadow" is a standout, while on the yet spacier "The Dark Magical Sea," he sounds not just like he's drifting out to sea, but vanishing into outer space. It's a low-key record, but he can rock out in an understated fashion too, kind of like Kevin Ayers used to do sometimes just when he'd lulled you into an easygoing frame of mind.

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