In the Nursery

Groundloop

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Embracing rhythms as the key sonic signature for this album (thus the title in part), on Groundloop, In the Nursery bring over a bit of their more experimental side from Les Jumeaux to a set of eight songs, nearly all of which have more active, complex drumming and drum patterns than the band has tried before. In many ways Groundloop is one of the most poppy things the Humberstones have ever created, with the trademarks of their work together -- classical arrangements, a cinematic, mysterious mood, and more -- informed by a newer accessibility. The album is also one of the shorter ones they've done in a long while -- eight songs, 45 minutes -- while Dolores Marguerite C.'s singing is similarly focused and straightforward, as can be heard on "Groundloop" itself and "Hymn Noir." The latter is a charging track in particular; not quite a dancefloor number along the line of some Les Jumeaux songs, but still close to it, as the pulsing synth bass work indicates ("Chronicle," delivered in some very lovely Spanish, and other songs use that as well). For all this, the band's sense of artistic reach isn't compromised, and some of the songs easily rank among In the Nursery's most powerful and passionate. "Allegory" in particular is astonishing, rolling drums and Henrik Linnemann's flute backing a soaring, ever-strengthening surge of strings while Dolores Marguerite C. beautifully recites extracts from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Once or twice things get a touch draggy, with some of the instrumentals being listenable enough but not as compelling as the band at its absolute best. But as is generally the case with In the Nursery, the pluses far outweigh the minuses, resulting in another fine album from the Humberstones.

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