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Extralife *
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  • Audio Mixer: Dan Cardinal.
  • Recording information: Dimension Sound Studios, Jamaica Plain, MA.
  • Photographer: Galle Beri.
  • The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based quartet's third full-length effort, Extralife continues in the tradition of 2015's Birds Say, employing sumptuous harmonies and lush neo-folk arrangements, but with a keener eye toward innovation. A refreshingly optimistic take on the early 21st century's obsession with dystopian themes -- their last outing was deeply rooted in nostalgia -- the 12-track set deals with social, political, and environmental complications with measured grace and some truly dexterous arrangements, all of which utilize an impressive arsenal of instruments and are anchored by Dave Senft, Don Mitchell, Auyon Mukharji, and Harris Paseltiner's dynamic voices. Standout cuts like "Futures," "Hold Your Head Up High," "Eschaton," "Indian Orchard Road," and "Best of the Best of Times" invoke names like Fleet Foxes, Illinoise-era Sufjan Stevens, and Bon Iver, with more than a cursory nod to late-'60s/early-'70s British folk. Bucolic, pastoral, and often willfully impressionistic, Extralife imagines a future that's not bereft of suffering or hardship, but tempered with hope and brimming with life. ~ James Christopher Monger
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