Couch

Figur 5

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Based on Figur 5, not much changed in Couch's world since their previous album, Profane, was released five years prior, except their address. Switching from Kitty Yo (and Matador in the U.S.) to Morr Music, the group offers more of the hypnotically pretty, moody post-rock that they began making in the early '90s. Fortunately, though, Figur 5 is a more focused album than the somewhat disappointing Profane was; concentrating on soft-but-crunchy beats, simultaneously sunny and bittersweet melodies, and subtly processed guitars and keyboards, the album shows that Couch still creates some of the loveliest -- and warmest -- atmospheric music around. Early in the album, "Zwei Strifen im Blan," "Alles Sagt Ja," and "Blinde Zeichen" -- which features playfully twangy processed guitars that sound a little bit like a rubber band being plucked -- blend together to create a suite-like reverie, while "Gegen Alles Bereit" and "Position: Wieder Eins" use live drums and overdriven guitars for a more immediate rock feel. "Große Verzögerung," meanwhile, has some of the bright, poppy feel that made the band stand out from their aloof-sounding peers, and "Lässt Nicht Nach"'s soaring guitars give Figur 5 a rousing finish. Though it isn't as ambitious as Couch's 1999 album Fantasy, Figur 5 is consistently enjoyable and a welcome return.

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