Caroline - Murmurs
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Caroline
Murmurs

Considering the output and roster of the Temporary Residence label to date, the twee electronic pop of Caroline seems like a somewhat strange pairing. Making a name for itself with great releases by post rock groups like Tarentel and Sonna, the label has also never shied away from heavier releases, dropping releases by the mathy Ruma Sakit and of course the silence to violence of Explosions In The Sky. With dabblings in just about every other genre to date, though, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that the label would eventually release something as straightforwardly poppy as Murmurs.

Caroline Lufkin was actually an artist well on her way to J-Pop fame in her native Japan before she decided to try something a little more artistically adventurous. She moved to the United States, creating a new batch of songs while living on residuals from more commercial work, and came to the attention to the label through her MySpace page (ah, the power of the internet). Her debut single "Where Is My Love" (which also appears on the album) appeared last year and garnered comparisons to everyone from Múm to Björk.

Neither of those references are completely off base, but Caroline creates music that is much more on the bubblegum side of the spectrum than either of those two artists. Her voice is charming, no doubt, and lyrically she touches on playful angles that work quite well with her music. Album-opener "Bicycle" finds her trying to remember a person, but instead remembering their bicycle as soft synth pulses and horns waft over soft glitchy beats. The aforementioned "Where Is My Love" is all pixie-dust production as multiple layers of chimes, powder-puff synths, and more breathy vocals float over clicky programming.

"Everylittlething" has one of the best vocal hooks on the entire album, and the track itself alternates between electric piano-led melancholy and slightly aggressive, almost electro passages that don't quite fit together. At just under forty minutes, this is a super-breezy album that sounds something like Lali Puna if they ditched all the harsh edges and went completely pop. It's pretty at times, but there's very little that sticks after it stops spinning. If you're a fan of some of the lighter euro female pop like Frou Frou, Murmurs might be your thing, but most others will find it a bit too saccharin.

rating: 5.7510
Aaron Coleman 2006-03-09 21:06:27