Reachy Prints

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Plaid's first proper album in nearly a decade, Scintilli, was a slightly tentative return that ultimately felt like a warm-up for Reachy Prints. With its juxtapositions of the prickly and the funky, the electronic and the orchestral, the duo's sixth album evokes Not for Threes while giving the often-delicate sonics of their previous album more impact on tracks such as "Hawkmoth." Even more so than on Scintilli, Ed Handley and Andy Turner know when to be complex and when to be direct. Each approach delivers highlights: "Liverpool St." closes Reachy Prints with a psychedelic swirl of rubbery beats, flutes, and woodwinds that perhaps nods to the duo's years of composing soundtracks; "Slam" winds on itself hypnotically, its rhythms and melodies avoiding easy paths with a surprising grace. Meanwhile, the crisply twinkling "Matin Lunaire" brings things into sharp focus, and "Tether"'s sliding, clicking, and crashing sonics are so kinetic that it's easy to hear why it was also released as an interactive app. Throughout Reachy Prints, Handley and Turner refine the core of their sound, whether displaying their continuing mastery of shapeshifting tracks like "Nafovanny," which subtly morphs from spare and squiggly into something more effervescent over the course of five minutes, or proving that there's still a place for songs like the expansive, skittering "Wallet," which manages to exemplify a certain strain of the music formerly known as IDM, and sound fresh at the same time. It's to their credit that Plaid aren't preoccupied with being cutting-edge on Reachy Prints. Instead, they bring the playful, brainy spirit of their best work over the years into the 21st century with lively results.

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