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Cyann & Ben 

Sweet Beliefs (Ever)

Wednesday, Mar 28 2007
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From the first candied vocal harmonies that float in over a morose bed of guitars and keys on Cyann & Ben's new full-length, the French quartet's shoegazer fixation rings out loud and clear. In the tradition of My Bloody Valentine, slowcore pioneers Low, and the electronically lugubrious M83 (with whom Cyann & Ben used to share a label), the band's modus operandi is to slowly build upon layers of sound. Utilizing the darker elements of pyschedelia along with the sharp contrasts of modern digital synth-pop to formulate its moody mélange, Sweet Beliefs is both somber and inspiring.

Ben's hushed vocals act as a counterpart to Cyann's siren song throughout, as the two allow their voices to effortlessly blend on tracks like the slowly unfolding "Sunny Morning," a Yo La Tengo-inspired composition that builds in waves. The album's opener, "Words," features Sonic Youth-style guitar discombobulation, contrasting beautifully with the saturnine foundation underlying the bulk of the record. A bit of patience is required here, as the group is never in a rush to get anywhere musically, but the resulting songs are well worth the wait. — Jonah Flicker

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Jonah Flicker

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