Blue Hawaii Untogether

Blue HawaiiUntogether
Much of Montreal duo Blue Hawaii's second full-length, Untogether, was recorded in separate rooms and cities, but there is an innate intimacy that unfolds with each song. Real-life couple Raph (also the lead vocalist of Braids) and Agor cut, dissect and rearrange almost everything here, creating a collage of sounds echoing with melancholy. Take "Try to Be," for example. It's a song that could have been a simple acoustic melody, but is broken up and transformed into a hauntingly compelling track that reveals layers upon layers of vocals and glacial ambience. And that's what makes Untogether so hypnotic — its sense of complexity beneath otherwise simple compositions. "In Two" and its companion, "In Two (II)," are shining examples of this, as sounds clash and build into climatic choruses of harmonies and heart-pounding bass tracks. Untogether does manage to lose its grip on your attention, at times, falling back on a bit of redundancy, but when it takes hold, it grabs you by the ears and fills them with a wistfulness that haunts you for days. (Arbutus)