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Cranebuilders

Sometimes You Hear Through Someone Else

Azra

Lit by a seemingly eternal dusk, Cranebuilders' Sometimes You Hear Through Someone Else is rife with an indistinctness, a blur at the edges of their sound. It's a world where the guitars nestle deeply in reverb, organs rarely graduate to a major key and the rhythm section keeps things moving at half-time. It's a time-tested formula that's worked from acts as far back as The Velvet Underground through to acts like Mojave 3. In fact, that the band hails from Liverpool rather than a decidedly more isolated, rural landscape like Australia -- where obvious influences like Nick Cave and Tindersticks gather their dusty sound -- is surprising. There's something innately gorgeous in the fragility of lilting guitar lead and piano melody backing Tommy Roberts' unhurried vocals on the borderline funeral dirge "New Captain." Pulling off this track in two opposing directions, the group's sound, by degrees, attains both an abyssal resonance ("Fallen Arches") and a nearly sun-dappled glow ("So What Could I Do"), but they always returns to mid-tempo melancholy where lines like "I just hope that you're happy/ I just hope that you're happy" feel indecisively at home. At 20 tracks, the US edition of this release (8 of which are culled from separate EPs) might be too large a statement of sadness to swallow in one sitting, but there's a sweetness to their sound which is hard to resist revisiting.

Azra Records: www.azrarecords.com