Dark Dark Woods CD - Crossroads of America

husband&wife are a Bloomington, Indiana, quartet who mine the well-tapped veins of indie-pop, emo, and dream-pop, enlacing everything they do in a pervasive sad-core mantle. Yeah, you've heard all this before, but Dark Dark Woods is still worthy of your ear. It's not that husband&wife are doing anything new here, but their alchemy is affecting and listenable.

The album is fairly low-key throughout, as hauntingly quiet as its title suggests. And because of this, without active listening many of its songs may slip by unnoticed. Opener "Comp Jam" revolves around acoustic guitar and piano, building a minute-and-a-half before Mike Adams' plaintive vocal enters sotto voce. The fragile sadness created by the song goes uninterrupted even as the full band finally augments the arrangement. "Haven't Got A Friend" ensues, and again takes its own sweet time building into the disc's most emotional moment. As Adams laments over and over, "I sound like everybody else when I say I haven't got a friend in the world," his pathos is somewhat betrayed by the self-censure of the lyric, the cut ultimately coming off as a blend of early Red House Painters and indie-era Deathcab for Cutie.

It's not that everything here is blear and drear. But even when husband&wife become playful, as on the relatively up-tempo "I Got Fat," there remains a wistful strain that reminds of the best work from For Stars.

By Michael Meade



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