Julian Koster, 'The Singing Saw at Christmastime' (Merge)

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The Singing Saw at Christmastime
Critical Mass
Label: Merge

by Josh Modell

Julian Koster's musical saw was part of the exhilarating ether on Neutral Milk Hotel's indie-rock landmark In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, but on this album of winter classics, the spectral instrument goes it alone, jarringly so. The results have little to do with pop: Imagine your grandmother's ghost visiting on Christmas Eve to serenade the family with wordless, impressionistic vapors that teeter between hauntingly gorgeous and slightly nauseating. "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" never sounded so weirdly lonely.

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