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Damon & Naomi
The Earth is Blue
20/20/20

I'm not that familiar with the wonderful world of Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang, having only heard a couple of albums by them and ditto by their previous vehicle of the 1980s, Galaxie 500, and one memorable close encounter one dark evening a few years ago. Anyways, this is their first album of new material in five years. There seems to be more electric guitars from Michio Kurihara (from the Japanese band Ghost, who by now act as the third steady member of the American duo?). Also, there might be some more keyboards here & there, the occasional trumpet and sax on the new album. Still the songs are mainly in a sort of singer songwriter tradition with the vocals, acoustic guitar and bass up front. They have included one cover version of the Beatles (George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps") and one by prolific Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso ("Araçá Azul"). No matter what instruments are included and what songs they play, it still sounds distinctively Damon & Naomi!

At first the album seemed to be the perfect company during this summer. The music was refreshing when it was too hot: 'rain is falling in a china cup', and warmed heart and bone when it was too cold: 'but given light, flowers bloom inside'. Last week when we had the hottest day in Oslo in 50 years, The Earth Is Blue was pretty cool... A closer inspection reveals that the lyrics are not of the summer lightweight kind. Among other matters they are dealing with deapair and reflections, 'reflections I won't ever find again'. They are more suitable for darker seasons than bright summer days, and will make the album last. And still, "Beautiful Close Double" should've been a summer hit in a just world, with D&N closer to the 4AD sound of the 80s than ever, Cocteau Twins in particular, combined with the stunning vibrant guitar of Michio. "Ueno Station" and the title track are other outstanding songs, both fragile. Despite the former deals with booze and rain in the city, both of them make me dreamy; feels like floating in the air like a sea gull in a light blue summer breeze. You might discern it on the picture of the cover...

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