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CAROLINE
Murmurs

TRR97
Temporary Residence 2006
09 Tracks. 36mins30secs

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Planted between chromatic saxophone swells, honeydew tongues of piano and eddying synth pulses, the childish coo of Caroline Lufkin discloses a fey, unabashed sentimentalism that is hard to dislike. Perhaps never is this more prevalent than on Lufkin's first single, Where’s My Love, which initially garnered her many a comparison to the coltish capers of Björk and Múm. The track is sprinkled with glistening chimes, breathy vocals, and snapping beats, sketching a breezy, nocturnal atmosphere that unfurls about one like a warm breeze.

For all that, the spell does not last long. With the first few visits, one acknowledges that pieces are polished, clean, and smooth, but upon further inspection, this orderly, polite state of affairs soon begins to bear a hint of fabrication. Crunchy, rattling beats are generic and hollow, the plaintive horns a trifle saccharine, and the piano motifs, dreamy and slender, have something distinctly Walt Disney about them. On Everylittlething, Lufkin attempts to fill out her character, pumping a crunchy, disco pulse into the heart of the track, but the crossover seems forced, and dressed in these sexy, slightly dark electro beats, her elfish voice is about as uncomfortable to watch as a young girl traipsing off to some raunchy club.

This is not to dismiss Murmurs altogether. Lufkin's lyrical penchants, though often soaked with sentimentality, are also playful, and descriptive, offering up handfuls of unusual, specific perspectives on childhood memories, relationships, and the like. With the song I’ll Leave My Heart Behind, moreover, she invests more of herself in the construction of the piece, providing an electronic backdrop that gurgles and boils with a vigor and discordant spark in its eyes that was altogether absent in earlier moments. On a whole, however, all of these nursery-rhymes and purling soap bubbles of electronics have difficulties pointing to anything beyond banalities.

Max Schaefer

2.8/5

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TRACKLIST

Bicycle
Pink & Black
Sunrise
Where's My Love
Everylittlething
All I Need
Drove Me To The Wall
I'll Leave My Heart Behind
Winter

CAROLINE Discography

THE SURFER'S GUIDE TO CAROLINE
Temporary Residence

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