The Luxembourg Signal

Long Now

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On their third album,The Long Now, U.K./U.S. dream pop groupthe Luxembourg Signalcontinue to impress with lovely melodies and increasingly deft production. Like their previous recordBlue Field, the group deal in the softer side of dream pop, cushioning their sound with gentle vocals provided by the duo ofBeth ArzyandBetsy Moyer, layered guitars, atmospheric keyboards, and a mix that allows them all to breathe. Juxtaposing this softness with the propulsive drive of the rhythm section -- and the occasional burst of stadium shoegaze à laRidecircaGoing Blank Again-- helps give the album a depth that's almost cinematic. It's painfully easy to say that about any music that conjures up big feelings, but songs like "The Morning After" and "Lost Hearts" truly have the structure and feel of mini-movies in which young lovers gaze wistfully into the middle distance as they walk through rain-soaked city streets. With a few exceptions where they take detours into gloomy synth pop ("Elevator Silence") or bouncy indie pop ("Ramblin' Rodriguez"), the album proudly makes big-hearted, widescreen statements and plays to the back row of the club with gusto. This enthusiasm helps them put the songs over, as does the innate gentleness that comes through even when the guitars ring like cathedral bells ("Cut the Bridle") or the band kicks into high gear (the should-be hit single "2:22"). So many groups make this kind of leap into bigger, bolder sounds and come off sounding bloated or insincere. The Luxembourg Signal pull it off by coming across stadium huge and bedroom small at once, and that kind of relatable intimacy combined with gloriously hooky pop makesThe Long Nowan absolute delight.

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