Pocket Symphony

Pocket Symphony

The French duo of Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin often sport ominous, somber tones. Like their soundtrack work (Lost In Translation), Pocket Symphony has long stretches of instrumental performance where the mood evokes a weightless journey through space and time. “Space Maker” begins in this state of mild grandeur that loosens up for the modestly more playful “Once Upon a Time.” Produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead) and featuring the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon (“Somewhere Between Waking and Sleeping”), Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker (“One Hell of a Party”), and Cocker and Charlotte Gainsbourg (“The Duelist”), Pocket Symphony has moments where the duo are trending ever so slightly towards pop. Even then the notes drip in reluctant phrases. “Napalm Love” is surprisingly chipper given its title. “Photograph” stalks its victim with an ethereal creep. “Mer Du Japon” has an extra skip and density in its pop step. “Left Bank” lays back on the electronics for acoustic guitar and cello and sweet, deep, hushed vocals.

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