Majical Cloudz


BY Jazz MonroePublished May 21, 2013

Majical Cloudz could easily be a mess of contradictions. Devon Welsh (the duo's severe, shaven-headed singer) and cool, handsome synth-dude Matthew Otto make songs at once musically minimal and emotionally maximal. Ultimately, it's this contrast that airlifts Impersonator out of the ravine of solipsism. The Montreal pair's Matador debut is a lucid and melodramatic thing; it makes mountains out of molehills and then conquers them to prove a point. "I'm feeling down," Devon croons grandly on "Mister," with the spirituality of a man long since elevated beyond his quotidian struggles and, as if to reiterate this, his cooed, swooping melody immediately lurches skyward, the very embodiment of ecstasy. Not that the record is without subtlety — songs like "Bugs Don't Buzz" and the title track document a loss of identity with sullen, elemental progressions that establish a peculiarly masculine frailty evocative of Patrick Wolf and the Blue Nile. Indeed, as captivating as the vocals are, the sparse accompaniment is vital; its sedative qualities lend Devon's bluster an eye-of-the-storm serenity. For as often as Impersonator threatens to dishearten, it's anchored by an equal and opposite force: a humanity so earthbound and maternal that it washes away your petty sorrows in a birdbath of optimism. This is a magical album.
(Matador Records)

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