Wan Light

Carmaline

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Wan Light's sophomore set doesn't stray appreciably from the template established by its predecessor, employing a blend of 21st century indie rock, folk, symphonic pop, and gentle electronic textures to create an inviting, sweetly melancholic, and emotionally cohesive whole despite a considerable range in musical approach. Let's Wake Up Somewhere Else may not have contained anything as raw and ragged as "A Good Day for a Good Day Off," or a chorus as big-sounding as "The Eskimo in Me"; Carmaline is slightly lighter on the acoustic guitars and pianos and heavier on the synthy atmospherics -- but these aren't significant departures from the group's overarching aesthetic. Nor is this album, as a whole, any more (or less) rocky or upbeat or sonically fleshed-out, although it may be slightly wider-ranging -- once again, one of the most impressive things about Wan Light is their ability to balance these sets of attributes, and their myriad impulses and influences, to suggest a core consistency within their variety, resulting in something unified but far from uniform. (Another noteworthy novelty is the gossamer "Sketch for Vini," a brief homage to Durutti Column main man Vini Reilly that nails the guitarist's style and sound perfectly.) In the case of music this endearing and unassumingly distinctive, there's absolutely nothing wrong with more of the same; indeed, it's hard to imagine what Wan Light could have changed to make their music more deeply satisfying and enjoyable. When and if the duo gets around to making a third full-length, another album of the same vein and the same high quality would again be more than welcome; for the time being, there's plenty to recommend repeated listens to either of Wan Light's first two.

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