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Sugarplum Fairies

Country International Records (Starfish)

The Austrian duo of singer Silvia Ryder and guitarist Ben Bohn have obviously listened to a lot of Velvet Underground albums. If Moe Tucker had fronted the Velvets, they might sound like the Sugarplum Fairies, with their minimal drums, droning guitars, and Ryder's world-weary vocals, a breathy whisper that's barely audible in the mix. As the title suggests, there are a few tunes that might be country in an alternative indie-rock universe, but most of this is mope rock made for despondent lovers and those who try in vain to grab their attention. These fragile vignettes of melancholy lovers living distractedly self-destructive lives are pleasant enough, but songs about slightly bored people are slightly boring themselves. The album closes with a cover of U2's "All I Want Is You," a well-constructed tune that shines a glaring light on the duo's charmingly inept material.

 
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