PSAPP – What Makes Us Glow

Album: What Makes Us Glow

Artist: Psapp

Label: The state51 Conspiracy

Release Date: November 12, 2013

Psapp

www.blog.51state.co.uk

BY MARK JENKINS

Sounding wispy and urgent at the same time is a neat trick, one that Psapp accomplishes several times on What Makes Us Glow, its fourth and least synth-oriented album. Breathy and tinkly yet driving, such songs as the polyrhythmic “Everything Belongs to the Sun” and the sorta-raga-rock “In the Black” show the London duo’s inventiveness. Not all the material is equally memorable, but it’s always immaculately arranged and produced.

Multi-instrumentalists Carim Clasmann and Galia Durant’s style incorporates European cafe and Brazilian lounge music, as well as the toy-instrument orch-pop of Japan’s Shugo Tokumaru and Meso Meso. Like Tokumaru, Psapp layers with exquisite detail and contrasts tinny timbres with more robust ones. Adding to the intricacy are the women’s voices, which weave together both naturally and with the help of electronic treatments.

A sonic circus, What Makes Us Glow includes samples of bovine mooing and the clattering of a homemade “boneaphone,” a marimba-like instrument with keys made of bone. But the most direct songs, “Wet Salt” and “Your Hot Knife,” downplay the aural eccentricities in favor of pumping keyboards, strutting beats and unison vocals. “We reveled in the mess we made,” Clasmann and Galia sing in “My Hot Knife,” and while the groove is actually pretty tidy, it’s too sensual to be relegated to the toy chest.

DOWNLOAD: “Your Hot Knife,” “Wet Salt,” “Everything Belongs to the Sun”

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