L'Altra

In the Afternoon

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A rich tapestry of soothing aural textures, L'Altra's In the Afternoon is one of the first albums that could be referred to as residing in the realm of pastoral dream pop. Sleepy, sad cellos swing and groan like the creaking hull of a ship at sea, combining with tinkling electric guitar leads to create an environment of contemplative, understated beauty and somnambulistic elegance. Seconds tick by in a hazy pastel blur yet show amazing definition if the time is taken to examine them in their multiple parts, as the layers of tip-toeing pianos, unexpected horns, and upright basslines are gorgeously entangled in a quietly affecting mix. Joseph Costa and Lindsay Anderson add perfectly disinterested vocals to go with the haunting arrangements, falling somewhere between the bucolic creepiness of Will Oldham and the chamber pop stateliness of Flare. With every shift in tempo or texture, with every instrument added and subtracted, the quartet and their small army of contributors are in complete control of the almost imperceptible mixing of compatible elements. An undeniably pleasant and ultimately rewarding, if not immediately accessible, listen.

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