Autistic Daughters

Jealousy and Diamond

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Sometimes understated qualities make the biggest impressions when least expected. With his amazing debut for Kranky, Be Mine Tonight made a significant impact, morphing Roberts from laptop hero to a songwriter poised to take Mark Hollis' place as post-rock's quietest statesman. Taking the beautiful elements of dense arrangements, haunting melodies, and wide-open spaces, he picks up right where Be Mine Tonight left off, but then adds welcome surprises to the equation. Sharp shifts in dynamics on the album's opener, "A Boxful of Birds," set the tone for what's to follow. There are skeletons and traces of structure to the songs, but the interplay between instruments is so loose it's hard to determine where the songs will lead. Sometimes this minimalism leads to uncomfortable waters, as if Roberts himself will fall into an exhausted collapse from mediating the battle between fragility and intensity. But more often than not, Roberts and his band of musical gypsies paint harrowing portraits that are as accessible as they are spellbinding.

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