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One Bedroom Apartment

One Bedroom Apartment

Take the Dirty Three, drop one member, switch the violin to a cello, and you're getting pretty close to the sound of Pallin. Granted, that's probably an overly-simplified version of the group, but as their lineup suggests, simplicity is what the duo of Andreas Söderström and Christian Hörgren excel at. Although the group could accused of drawing themselves into a corner with their limited choise of instruments, they explore all kinds of variations with the two instruments, and although the album has a decidingly melancholy feel to it (which is partially due to the almost mournful sounds of the cello), the nine tracks on the disc only run just over 30 minutes, so things obviously don't drag on too long.

The release actually opens up with a bit of field recording on "Area Of Quietude" and a nice tremelo guitar strums out a few chords until the plucked cello enters. Soon, the two intertwine in a quiet waltz, the cello going back to plucked sounds for the "chorus." "Up And At Them" follows with several louder chord progressions, but soon quiets down as the guitar plays out a quiet melody and the cello fills in the off notes over a subtle feedback loop of itself.

The group creates wonderful sounds on the absolutely stripped-down album-titled track. During the beginning of the track, a droney cello loop plays in the background, the main cello part aches as the guitar only makes itself known with a few wistful curls. Eventually, the cello takes the main melody of the song and the guitar adds some simple backing chords to fill things out. Switching things up on the very next track "The Fish," the guitar again takes the lead with some very nice picked playing while the cello fills in things with some warm, rich tones. It's a slight bit more playful than the rest of the release, and just to show that they aren't all serious, they turn in the almost toe-tapping "The Tick In The Beard." The cello in turn plays more as a bass in the song to the guitars folky melody, and it provides a bit of a lighter moment in the more dour overall feel of the release.

As a nice bonus, the packaging of One Bedroom Apartment is stellar as well. Packaged in a digipack, the cover artwork of the release is from a woodcut by a friend of the group that recalls something out of a Kafka story; a person hobbles on crutches by another person (sleeping or dead) in a doorway. This digipack then slides into a clear vinyl package with the name of the band screened on in a subtle goldenrod color. Like the music on the disc, it's somewhat simple, yet quite nice. While it's nothing groundbreaking, it still proves that two person instrumental groups can indeed produce something touching.

Rating: 6.75