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Tealights: Take Us By Sea

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Tealights' six-song debut is a sweeping marriage of laptop textures and bold strings sculpting dramatic moods that are very pretty but brittle. Take Us By Sea is the backbone of a musical vernacular driven by dark romanticism set adrift in modern classical and experimental arrangements. Like Claude Debussy on a date with Björk, surrealism and impressionism mingle in the dramatic male/female wailing in "Wait." The lingering string melodies heard over front lady Nancy Shim's cool voice provide the weeping heart of the CD. The grand finale "No Surrender" layers a procession of live and electronic instruments alongside a reluctant new age croon in a short, delicate burst of chaos. With so much swelling emotion, these songs err on being too precious for rock 'n' roll ears. But the accomplished musicianship and elegant bent of Take Us By Sea will melt the hardest of hearts. (self-released) 4 stars out of 5

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