Unwed Sailor The Marionette and the Music Box

You may still be listening to that old Cat Power record to put you to sleep. Or maybe you’ve gotten used to Dirty Three lulling you into your dreams every night. Well, it’s time to give those records a much-needed rest — here is your new lullaby. Leaps and bounds above anything they’ve ever done before, Unwed Sailor have made the album of their career. Pristinely produced acoustic guitars float over glockenspiels, strings, horns, flutes and tickling electronics to create one of the best quiet records ever released. While a lot of bands of this kind just beg for a whispering vocalist to fill in the gaps, it’s almost better that Unwed Sailor keep it instrumental. Without the distraction of vocal melodies or lyrics, the music is really allowed to breathe, leaving any narrative entirely up to your imagination. An album of subtlety and focus, The Marionette is just plain soothing on the ears. One of the best records of the year. (Gentlemen)