“The happiest songs all end with a smile. This might end with a smile.” So laments vocalist Devon Welsh midway through piano thumping outro track ‘Bugs Don’t Buzz’ on the Montréal duo’s latest album. It’s a hopeful sentiment, perhaps even verging on ironic, particularly as much of the album despondently drags itself through a darkened tunnel of grim and gloomy confessional tangents, to the point where you feel like you have to apologise for your prying when it’s all over. Welsh’s reaching-for-the-Prozac vocals alone are not entirely problematic here, but combined with producer Matthew Otto’s beautiful, yet sparsely hollow clouds of sound, the whole thing becomes aurally introverted. The rolling waves of textured tones and smudged chords seem too understated to give any sense of oscillation, and the whole thing becomes a little bit over-saturated, a little bit overbearing.

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