Sambassadeur

Migration

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    7
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Sambassadeur's second full-length album, Migration, offers up another round of luminous indie pop in the spirit of their self-titled debut album; furthermore, the execution is essentially flawless. To begin, the production is just plain lovely. Migration is actually Sambassadeur's first foray into the studio, which comes as a surprise largely because it doesn't sound radically different from the band's earlier releases. (To be fair, Sambassadeur's previous releases sounded pretty darn clean -- for a band with bedroom recording roots, Sambassadeur are anything but lo-fi.) The sound is just a touch different, though; Migration is a little bit fuller, smoother, and more chic than the band's previous work. The album's opening track, "The Park," a kind of Vapnet meets Acid House Kings affair, finds Sambassadeur's sweet, slightly chilly sound (modified here with some delicate reverb and glowing strings) polished into immaculate smoothness. Migration is also a touch more danceable than Sambassadeur's previous recordings; the rollicking drum machine beats and diaphanous synth effects on "Final Say" are practically Radio Dept.-like, and that's nothing but a good thing. On top of all this, the pacing is well done, with shy, tentative tracks like "Calvi" counterbalanced by the bounciness of "New Moon" and "Something to Keep." Yes, not a hair is out of place on Migration, and that's exactly why the album stumbles a bit -- it just feels a bit too orderly and planned. Listening to Migration is at times like looking at a butterfly collection: it is without a doubt very pretty, but it feels somewhat stifled. But even if it is a bit mannered, Migration is well worth a spin or two, if only because tracks like "Subtle Changes" are so tidy and well made.

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