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Boomkat Product Review:
Nottingham duo Felix make their Kranky debut with this fine and idiosyncratic collection of songs. The main focus here is the vocal/piano/cello talents of Lucinda Chua, whose sparse yet quirk-loaded minimalism receives guitar and bass backing from Chris Summerlin, who's probably best known for his work in the rock band Lords. Chua's writing is quite unlike anything else currently out there; her lyrics convey strange or often very simple, domesticated ideas delivered in a pared-down, plaintive fashion, never more so than on 'What I Learned From TV'. Here she laments a missing cat and a dirty kitchen whilst pining for relief from unlikely sources ("If I could hear that guy's voice off Transworld Sport"). It's all done with a completely straight face, eschewing anything resembling kitsch or kook, instead sounding emotionally aloof - perhaps a little like Charlotte Gainsbourg on her 5:55 album. "I hate this feeling" Chua concludes, and the song suddenly seems deathly serious and immaculately beautiful. The tremendously subtle and eerily moving Stars Of The Lid-style backing arrangement doesn't hurt either, piecing together nervous strings and piano over the course of a heartstopping five minutes. Never has such an ostensibly silly song been this moving. The album corresponds to this paradox throughout, with songs like 'I Wish I Was A Pony', shyly manifesting itself with trepidatious piano chords and cello embellishments that recall Antony & The Johnsons. During its slightly more robust moments, Summerlin's guitar tends to dominate: 'Ode To The Marlboro Man' is a wily slowcore country track that owes something to Cat Power's version of 'Satisfaction' from her first covers record, and shows that there's more to Felix's music than channelling vulnerability. Highly recommended.