Count your blessings
Still bummed because Minnesota mopemeisters Low got all rocked up on their last album and subsequently didn't provide the misery/melancholy quotient you counted on them for? Relax, my frowning friends; Munck//Johnson are here to help. On their second album, the Danish duo sound incredibly like Low at times, and Camilla Munck shouldn't feel at all belittled to be called the Danish Mimi Parker. Her voice is just as lovely, just as capable of expressing deep, private sorrow that doesn't reveal its source openly. "Last wish" and the evocative organ utilized on "The streets" are unquestionably Low-ish (never more than when those tight harmonies deliver the goods). But my favorite tracks are the beautifully eerie "This time," which features electric guitar washes distorted to create an evocative ambient soundscape over which sparse synth and the quietly sombre vocal effectively stir up your most buried emotions, and the graceful piano-laden "Be kind," which is truly lovely. Elsewhere, several tracks are just Moogie Johnson's simple acoustic guitar and Camilla's delicate voice ("Ellis of Davenport," "Sweet and lowdown," "Flesh and bone"). While this is often downbeat music, it's engaging and poetic, and it always feels genuine. With a little patience, anyone into introspective, soul-searching music should be able to appreciate this disc, which is a tad more consistent than last year's debut.
- Kevin Renick