I’m From Barcelona, 'Who Killed Harry Houdini?' (Mute)

6
Who Killed Harry Houdini?
Critical Mass
Label: mute

by Barry Walters

Leader Emanuel Lundgren tussles with sophomore jitters on the shorter, spottier sequel to his 29-member indie-pop band's beautiful 2006 debut. He's a softer yet more confident singer on grand ballads like "Andy," and his choir now adorns rather than simply bolsters him. But a hazy sound mix fails to highlight the brightest shades in a folkier instrumental rainbow, and marginal melodies afflict the drab duet "Gunhild" and the awkward epic "Rufus." There's still sunshine (check the gleefully voyeuristic "Paper Planes"), but frequently it's obscured by autumnal clouds.

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