Drape Me in Velvet

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Musette's Drape Me in Velvet is the kind of effort where the backstory of how banks of tapes, some decades old, were reworked, layered, and twisted into something else is of interest on the one hand, but on the other doesn't necessarily need to be a selling point at all. In point of fact it shouldn't be -- Drape Me in Velvet feels like so much out there in the realm of referential metapop experimentation, perhaps inevitably, but one where it's the original arrangements and focus that carry the day more successfully. Musette's sole figure Joel Danell, along with various collaborators, create a series of instrumentals that are rooted in a never-never land of film soundtracks, commercial compositions, and nostalgic sentiments that are nonetheless grounded in the present. Thus, "Coucou Anne," which starts off as the kind of wistful, fuzzy indie one could almost expect these days, but with a piano lead giving it a bit of a genteel twist. The upward melodic progression of "Night Night Night" is a standout, something that takes the extrapolations on Beach Boys formalism via the High Llamas to another level, "Horse Thoughts" shifting from sweet little thing to a combination of darker drones buried/corroded beats while a string section amps up the melancholy. "Wuzak" is the perfect title, but instead of it just being snarky glop, something about the solo and lushness is just a kind of spot-on pop, horns starkly mucking up the feelings created. "On the Green Tape" takes a more mournful feeling with its shuffle, "Tempelhof" veers toward Pulp ballads circa 1994 in sound without lyrics, and "How to Behave in Elevators" seems to ask why it's not so bad to be flutily winsome.

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