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      2. The Saxophones

        Eternity Bay

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        The second album from West Coast whisperers the Saxophones (Alexi Erenkov and Alison Alderdice), Eternity Bay modestly reinforces their sound in what are still markedly delicate arrangements. Preserving their blend of '50s exotica and intimate indie pop ruminations, it was again recorded with producer Cameron Spies and uses the same palette -- guitar, synths, woodwinds, vibraphone, and rhythm section -- as 2018's elegant Songs of the Saxophones. Eternity Bay's still thoughtful but slightly brighter tone may be explained by the fact that it was written and recorded (to analog 16-track tape) in a period following the birth of the couple's first child and while anticipating their second. The intro to wistful first track "Lamplighter" features widely spaced vibraphone strikes that are mixed above gentle bass, drums, rhythm guitar, and even tuneful saxophone until Erenkov draws focus with his tentative, melancholy vocals. On an album whose lyrics are concerned with indecision, romantic affection, and details of the everyday, the song's couplets include: "The lamplighter's glow is gone/What else is there to do/In a town this size/On the coast with you?" Establishing a slow pace and consistently dreamy, pillowy feel, it's followed by minimalist tracks such as the playful "New Taboo" ("I'm looking to uncover a new taboo/Do you know anything I shouldn't do?) and "Living in the Myth," whose spacious echo contains melodic bass, staccato rhythm guitar, drumstick clicks, and flute. Its chromatic vocal melody is eventually mirrored by Erenkov's saxophone. By comparison, "Take My Fantasy" and the jangly "You Fool" sound outright lively, but only within the Saxophones' world, where all is hushed and restrained. Finally, "Eternity Bay" hypnotizes with the sound of water washing upon the beach, quietly thundering percussion, cascading delay, and the singer's assurance that "I'm still floating in Eternity Bay/Turns out it's as good as they say" before closing the album on an unresolved chord.

        blue highlight denotes track pick
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