tremble clef

Friday, March 10, 2006

Caroline, "Bicycle"/"I'll Leave My Heart Behind" (2006)

Some reference points for Caroline -- full name Caroline Lufkin -- are obvious. Say: Bjork, and Stina Nordenstam.

But what comes to mind most, when I listen to the bewitching album Murmurs, is a music box. If the ballerina in that music box could sing, she would, I imagine, make music that resembles this. Crisp. Fragile. Pristine. Tinkly with some clean electronic flourishes, and featuring vocals pitched so high as to be almost unbearable.

On the first half of the album, this music box aesthetic is especially strong. The opener, "Bicycle," has a series of staccato lines that are vivid without ever explaining anything: "I can't remember your face/But I remember your bicycle/How it took my breath away." It's followed by "Pink and Black," a song that uses harps and, if such a thing is possible, sounds like a windchime, and the sparseness continues up to the recent single "Where's My Love." The second half of the album picks up the pace slightly: "Every Little Thing" has an arpeggiated riff that actually breaks a sweat, while the lovely "I'll Leave My Heart Behind" is almost conventional enough to be glitchy pop.

It's all quite hypnotic, though it may also prove too precious for some. Music to listen to while watching that ballerina tether, spin around and around. (While thinking, perhaps, about how you used to have a pink skirt just like that.) (Um, or not.)


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