Zwischen Himmel und Erde

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Klee are a part of the '90-2000s European pop/rock movement, which doesn't really register as a concise style on the public radar due to the simple fact that bands sing in different languages, but remains a distinct musical phenomenon spanning acts across the Continent, from Denmark's Superjeg to Ukraine's Okean Elzy. Reamonn's "Supergirl" was the biggest hit the style has produced, and it pretty much sums it up: clean guitars; a mildly dynamic tempo; quiet vocals; a simple melody; a melancholic, comforting mood. Equally rooted in music of Sting, R.E.M., and Del Amitri, this sound is far from groundbreaking, but has a specific vibe that is as recognizable as it is nice. Zwischen Himmel und Erde delivers this sort of Old World rock with the best of them: it's a dozen smooth, silky songs that play like a sonic equivalent of a light summer rain on the streets of Brussels or Brunswick. The music is professionally arranged, with pianos and strings appearing in all the right places, but the extra stuff is so well integrated into the music that it completely blends into the background. Unobtrusiveness is a key word for Zwischen Himmel und Erde in general, but it is a compliment here -- this is not a flashy album, but a pleasant one. Suzie Kerstgens' voice hovers over simple guitar textures, which are actually pretty lively (think U2 at their tamest) but do not really feel like it -- it's all peace and quiet and cozy contemplation. Barring the oxymoron of dynamic relaxation, there's not much to describe Zwischen Himmel und Erde by other than its soft, charming vibe, but then again, genuine charm is not easy to find, and there's plenty of that here.

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