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Sound Check

12/11/2013

cd Har-di-HarHar-di-Har

‘Hard Parent/Thick Child’

Independent

Har-di-Har (Cedar Falls couple Andrew and Julie Thoreen) is a fairly joyous experience. The duo’s particular brand of experimental, folky dream pop (or dream poppy folk, take your pick) is one of the more unique sounds you’ll hear locally, and with good reason. Between the complex, lilting harmonies and the winding, ethereal musical profile, it’s not a sound that just anyone could pull off. It is, however, a sound that virtually everyone can appreciate. Julie Thoreen’s vocals are a genuine highlight, and when harmonizing with Andrew is at its best (as on “Once Branches,” the best track on the EP), the effect is nothing short of delightful. Dreamy and happy, Har-di-Har’s sound is derivative of a more mainstream version of the Cocteau Twins, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that statement. CV

 

cd R KellyR. Kelly

‘Black Panties’

RCA

R. Kelly really, really wants you to know that he enjoys sex. Unfortunately, it’s all he wants you to know. And so, despite the fact that Kelly is still capable of creating some magnificent hooks, he’s content to waste them on the most deplorably, hopelessly, pathetically misogynist lyrics imaginable. It’s like late ‘90s R and B, as viewed through the eyes of a simpleton sociopath. There’s nothing here that is in any way redeemable; there are so many low points the entire album is subterranean. But if you had to pick a poster child for the album’s overwhelming, noxious stench, it would have to be “Marry the Pussy,” in which Kelly literally proposes to a woman’s nether regions. “Black Panties” is a perfect reflection of Kelly himself: a blindingly dumb, boorish, sophomoric one-trick pony who’s desperately trying to overcompensate for the fact that his one trick isn’t all that great to begin with. CV

Barmuda