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FLIPSIDES AND FLIPPY HAIR 

Produced by Ivy member Andy Chase, Wallpaper sets up a dynamic dichotomy between acoustic-guitar strum and mini-orchestra bombast that's surprising to hear in a song not about November rain. Whether or not all this headphone folderol constitutes a near hour of useless beauty is, of course, down to your fondness for French guys with flippy hair. Still, the depth of Tahiti 80's shallow water could drown men with more burdened souls.

Arab Strap singer Aidan Moffat hangs a different kind of psychological wallpaper on his first solo album as Lucky Pierre. Over the course of Arab Strap's handful of chilly, frequently grotesque records, Moffat and partner Malcolm Middleton pinned down the male sexual dysfunction that is the flip side of the wistful heartbreak Boyer and Tahiti 80 describe. For Hypnogogia, though, Moffat has made a record for somnolence: The 10 instrumental tracks (with names like "Bedwomb" and "Angels on Your Body") replace Middleton's fractured guitar playing with keening, sampled strings, and Moffat's monologues with some minimal synth patterns and prehistoric drum programming. True to its impetus, the music does occasionally achieve a relaxed grace that captures the sensation of drifting into stillness, but Moffat lacks the attention to detail that elevates Tahiti 80's silly love songs to art-object status. Hypnogogia will work for tonight, but not for tomorrow morning.


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September 23, 2020

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