gentle-friendly

As titles go, the nonsensical, wordless ‘Rrrrrrr’ is perfectly suited to Gentle Friendly’s second album. Say it out loud and it’s a sonic hum, and this duo has always been one that cherishes sound over songs. Beneath the organ loops and squealed vocals of 2009’s ‘Ride Slow’, though, there did lie some kind of leftfield avant-pop, but not here, on a follow up that is far more ambient and far less willing to please fans of hooks, however obscure. It’s more an audio experiment than it is a commercial record in any sense; interesting rather than gripping. Things get real sparse real soon until the minimal techno of ‘Meditation 45’ becomes so hushed it almost vanishes altogether, which makes the closing ‘Speakers’ all the more frustrating. Part witch house/part drowsy industrial, it’s the duo’s best song yet, with vocals you can hear, on one tough album.

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