Released back in February - Valentine’s Day to be precise - Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang’s latest long-play release is both their first for five years and since departing long-term home Sub Pop - 20/20/20 is their own label. The former Galaxie 500 duo’s USP hasn’t changed - dreamy vocals collide with borderline psychedelic ambiance and traditional indie-pop choruses - and, similarly, the quality remains high.
Early songs like charm the listener effortlessly - the solo on ‘A Second Life’ is a dash of unabashed rock splendour on a record of apologetic understatement, whilst the trumpet of ‘Malibran’ is truly mournful - but the record peaks at one of its two cover versions. D&N’s take on ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ is sublime; the song’s mood isn’t dramatically altered from the original George Harrison version, but its delivery is slowed and the subsequent effect on the listener seems considerably greater. Again, subtle trumpet plays a noticeable part in its appeal. That said, the comparably sorrowful guitars of ‘Ueno Station’ and the title track are just as captivating.
Hardly a record you’d play to a potential partner during Valentine’s courting, such are its melancholy undertones, but The Earth Is Blue is a potent lesson in deceptively simple but exquisitely emotive songwriting, and one that continues to reveal further charms many a listen later.
8Mike Diver's Score