Deleted Scenes

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Standish/Carlyon are a duo from London whose moody synth pop with shoegaze guitars and dub-inspired production is very reminiscent of another London duo that came before them, A.R. Kane. Like them, Standish/Carlyon make music that sounds wrapped in gauze, simmering and smoldering but rarely breaking out into overt displays of showy emotions. Deleted Scenes isn't some kind of trip back to a sound that was out of fashion until right around the time of the album's release; it's a well-crafted modern electronic pop record that uses a full range of sounds and textures to create music that is full of heartache and downtrodden soul. The duo creates tension and drama by holding back. Conrad Standish's vocals are often buried in the mix and have a quietly yearning quality that draws the listener in closer by being just a little bit reserved. He's got a lovely falsetto that occasionally floats over the murky beats like a stray red balloon. His partner Tom Carlyon's smeared guitars fill the arrangements with a mysterious haze of sound and his heavy beats sink the songs deep into the brain. When it all comes together on songs like the gently soaring "Feb Love," the almost light-footed "Aqua Valerie," or the gloriously melancholy "Gucci Mountain" (which sounds like R. Kelly after a week spent in a floatation tank), their sound is breathtakingly good. Their deeply echoed excursion into dub sounds, "New People," is also quite impressive, and the one time they get some forward momentum going, on the almost uptempo "Moves, Moves," they almost sound a little happy. (They might want to head in this direction a little more in the future -- it worked for A.R. Kane!) The only song that doesn't quite work is the overly long and monochromatic instrumental, "Industrial Resort," which weighs down the center of the album just a little too much. Luckily, it's an isolated moment and easy to skip over in favor of the songs that will grab you in all the right ways instead. Just like A.R. Kane were able to do at their peak, Standish/Carylon are capable of captivating your ears and wrenching your heart. This is a very promising debut.

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