Alice & Michi Strange Bloom

Alice & Michi Strange Bloom
If one were to argue that no music is truly original, Strange Bloom could be used as "Exhibit A." The debut album from Cleveland, OH two-piece Alice & Michi, Strange Bloom uses that choir-gilded, modern R&B sound that fuelled Dirty Projectors' resourceful 2009 LP, Bitte Orca. But it's the sparse, serene arrangements that define tracks like "Fighters" and "Dedication." Allowing sleek electronics to co-exist with buzzy trumpets and processed violin, the amorously paced "You Could Be My Guy" and claustrophobic 16-bit-er "Goldrush" work like polar opposites on this well-tempered album. Although Dirty Projectors tackle things with a more organically experimental angle, Alice & Michi are undeniably pop artists with a penchant for the baroque. There's some great moods cast on Strange Bloom, mostly in the parallel-layering found on tracks like the warped synth of "This is a Happy Song" and quiet explosiveness of "For All of the Strangers." Strange Bloom may be a carbon copy, but that copy has been appropriately scribbled over. (Kenji)