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windy & carl - Songs For The Broken Hearted
Alongside Stars of the Lid, Windy & Carl are in many ways the definitive Kranky band, having been with the label for well over a decade and been instrumental in configuring that signature sound that's somewhere between drone, shoegaze and modern classical. "Songs For The Broken Hearted" is their fourth album for the label and, despite sticking with a formula the band have long since established, it's truly a work of heart-stopping beauty. Album opener 'btwn you + me' drifts in with a harrowing, almost ghostly presence, marrying the stretched hum of extended chords and layered, cushioned distortion with a submerged vocal delivery that acts as some kind of aural prologue for the captivating 70 minutes that follow. The track segues into the next with some brilliance, suddenly re-configuring the palette slightly to bring to mind the bittersweet introspection of Talk Talk with an echoing underlay, while 'Forever' comes closest to traditional songwriting with a deeply affecting delivery that's just vintage Windy & Carl. The album ends with the 9 minute 'The Same Moon and Stars', another dense and perfectly executed exercise in the sublime, yet again doing that thing they do so well of marrying colossal sound layering with the most gentle, emotionally resonant sounds imaginable. A very welcome return from one of our very favourite bands, and an utterly essential purchase for fans and newcomers alike.