Music News

Clue to Kalo

The sad truth is that there's no term better than the overused folktronica to describe Aussie songwriter Mark Mitchell's menagerie of digitally rendered psych-pop. Though recorded in the disparate urban locales of Adelaide and Brooklyn, Clue to Kalo's second effort sounds more inspired by the mountains and lakes within eyeshot of a remote Swiss chalet.

The ten tracks here indeed fall in line with the heartbroken, twee-electronic tinkerings of Dntel and Her Space Holiday. But unlike those dispirited kindred, Mitchell needs neither seclusion nor sympathy to abet his plight. In fact, he invites friends to splash his software-stretched canvas with an organic palette that includes mandolins, woodwinds, chimes, and accordions. The vibrancy is immediate (kaleidoscopic sleeve art aside) on the baroque shuffle of "Seconds When It's Minutes" and continues through the plucked shoegazer ode "Ignore the Forest Floor" and the glitchy finger-pickin' goodness of "Nine Thousand Nautical Miles." Even if that f word suits Clue to Kalo, Mitchell's personality lends understated grace and warmth to a genre that's usually devoid of such things.

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Kiran Aditham