Published Nov 11, 2015Bing & Ruth charmed critics last year with the ruminative instrumentals of Tomorrow Was The Golden Age. Their new release, City Lake, is not their next album but a reissued debut, and it serves as an orchestral sketchbook of sorts, as the opening song "Broad Channel" is revisited twice over the entire 70 minutes. The album also finds the septet indulging in longer compositions with a noticeable change in tone, positing a jaunty sense of optimism on the song "Rails" and closing the title track with a post-rock crescendo.
For all its expansiveness, City Lake is a little underwhelming compared to last year's effort. This is not to say it is unrewarding, though — these ten songs simply offer a different set of thrills. The doting piano keys are still here, as are the spectral female voices, but some of the instruments sound a touch out of tune, like the brooding clarinets on "And Then It Rained" and "In This Ruined House." By including a lap-steel guitar and a tape-delay machine, lead composer David Moore certainly brings his own uniqueness to the modern classical genre, so while Bing & Ruth probably won't appear on many best-of lists for 2015, City Lake still manages to create a beautiful green-space for listeners. (RVNG Intl.)