Parker and Lily Hello Halo

This is some very sombre stuff from the duo formerly known as Valentine Six. Partners in crime (and in romance), Parker Noon and Lily Wolf are staples of the NYC club circuit and specialise in a rather dark and gloomy brand of romantic pop. They've been compared to UK acts like the Tindersticks and Portishead, and for good reason - this is not music for a bright and sunny day at the beach. Mixing together vintage '60s keyboards, organs, chimes and tremolo guitar, the overall result makes Hello Halo perfect soundtrack material, and indeed, much of their music has been commissioned for independent NYC films. To cap it all off, Parker Noon's voice is borderline comatose, drenched in reverb and dour enough to make the Magnetic Fields' Stephen Merritt sound like a Beach Boy by comparison. Scared yet? You should be. This is not music for the faint of heart. Wait, scratch that, this is music perfectly suited for the faint of heart. Of special note is the guest appearances on guitar made by Matt Verta-Ray and Speedball Baby, of Madder Rose fame. Not that they really get to do much, but it's nice to know they're there. There are some really great tracks on this album, of particular note being "My Golden Arm," "Tokyo" and "What's an Oubliette?," which are dreamy and spooky enough to fit perfectly into a David Lynch film. These are songs about love and all of its trials and tribulations and the message couldn't be clearer, thanks to Parker's deep whispers and Lily's knack at setting the mood. (Orange)