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'upper air' is the sophomore effort from north carolina's folk duo of phil moore and beth tacular. the popularity of their first record effected a lot of change for the group: they've signed to dead oceans, and with the label's support have toured with the likes of bon iver, phosphorescent, and john vanderslice. the inspiration for these songs comes from their near-constant touring, and as such, they stray from the backwoods, nature-inspired sounds and imagery of their debut and show signs of an evolution toward a fuller array of instrumentation and a more confessional lyrical basis. the arrangements are subtle: acoustic guitars, organ, piano, autoharp, violin, percussion, upright bass and more are used throughout the recording. usually though, it is just a few of these instruments delicately supporting moore's voice, the anchor of every song. bowerbirds have the spirit of richard and linda thompson, the currency of devendra banhart, the addictively sweet melodicism of iron and wine, but it churns with an underlying energy closer to a beirut or something farther out, more raw, more wild. on dead oceans.
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