The Moon Seven Times

The Moon Seven Times

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Some records just utterly and completely slip through the cracks, and on small labels the chance of that is all the greater. Most of the ones that do disappear deserve it, but the exceptions become just that more precious, and that's the prime reason why the Moon Seven Times' debut is so worth the seeking out. Lynn Canfield and Henry Frayne left Area to concentrate on this new context for their talent, and the combination of her beautiful, strong voice and his way around an understated psych-via-4AD guitar dreaminess made for absolute magic on the band's debut. Everything starts off perfectly on The Moon Seven Times, with the entrancing, gentle build of "Her House" -- Canfield and Frayne match just so well that one can't be without the other -- and from there, all the band (notably including fine drummer Brendan Gamble) has to do is keep exploring their sound just so. Even the unlisted bonus tracks give other perspectives, ranging from Frayne's moody, dank instrumental to gentler full band messing around. A few songs like "Rise" and "My Medicine" kick up some fiercer rock smoke in a tense but not overdriven way -- Gamble's abilities really shine on both tracks -- but most are textured, flowing numbers like "Miranda," with propulsion that's not determined by volume. Perhaps the best moment comes towards the end, when the soft, mostly unplugged "Sweet Magnolias" then leads into the album's longest effort, "Surrender." Combining everything from a bravura Gamble drum performance -- nothing overdone, just the right amount -- with Canfield and Frayne's partnership, haunting backing vocals and suffused melancholy beauty everywhere, it's a song of gentle majesty. With Chris Bigg's cover reflecting his own work for the 4AD label -- adding just the right touch without coming across as an obvious design clone -- it's the icing on the cake for an exquisite album.

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