The Twilight Babies

Middle of Something

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Twilight Babies' 2002 debut was both beautiful and restless, like a pretty girl caught in a small town. It drew liberally and oddly from electronica, pop, and folk, but kept getting stuck in roundabouts and culs-de-sac. Turns out that might have been on purpose. Middle of Something, the trio's sophomore long-player, proves it's Twilight Babies' blessed curse to be indefinable. While there's plenty of soul and emotion in Alison Lewis' vocals, she also plays to the faraway, fractured quality of the music, freely inhabiting both the body of a downtempo electronic diva ("Where the Arrows Meet," "Little Light"), and the lush, literate electro-pop soundscapes of "The Good Fight" or emotional standout "Grace." This music is far-out because that's where the trio aligns and links up its varying stylistic tendencies; it's fractured like discovering the broadcast on a half-broken radio. As with the first album, guitar work is again key to Middle's musical mix -- "Orange & the Alabaster" is especially adept at blending acoustic and electric playing with keys and programming. It's organic and electric -- faraway, yet so close. Best might be the title track. Lewis' lyrics are like random asides, the scattered mix of sad and hopeful thoughts that cross a mind on a long subway ride. An acoustic guitar solos deftly in the background, at odds with the heavy, chunky distortion that augments swirling, surging synths. It's a cloudy sonic Polaroid of 21st century pop, defining the sounds of the modern world while refining Twilight Babies' niche outside of it.

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