Misophone: Where has it gone, all the beautiful music of our grandparents? It died with them, that's where it went...
Kning Disk

If the beautiful music of our grandparents supposedly died with them (as the title of Misophone's Kning Disk debut attests), then how does one account for the charming, hook-filled tunes that grace this album? Having written together for five years and recorded hundreds of songs during that time, band members S. Herbert and M.A. Welsh (the former a classically-trained musician proficient on more than twenty instruments, the latter a lyricist and singer who contributes banjo, found sounds, and “animal noises” to the album) clearly know their way around a folk-pop song (apparently they've also recorded over a dozen albums though the Kning Disk is the first to receive a full, formal release). Their forte is crafting fantastical folk-pop tunes that exude a timeless and sometimes Eastern European feel in their coupling of breathy vocals with acoustic guitars, strings, glockenspiel, banjo, and percussion.

A perfect opener, “White Waves” is the kind of song that'll lodge itself firmly in your head and stay there for days. Caressed by a gorgeous string melody and glockenspiel accents, the singers' gentle vocals ride the song's lilting gallop breezily. An anvil clank tolls throughout the folk shuffle of “It's Good To Be Alive” where the singers' filtered voices are heard alongside plinkety-plink pianos, strings, and skiffle guitars, while the uptempo work song “Turning Hay In The Fields” could pass for a drinking song one might hear in an Hungarian country pub. Though uptempo tunes dominate, the album includes slower charmers such as the alternately wistful and splendidly phantasmagoric “The Sea Has Spoken,” and Misophone also intersperses a few instrumentals for good measure (“Don't Be Afraid” spends a woozy two minutes at the circus carousel while “Song Thrush” does the same at the aviary). By turns jaunty (“Nothing Down There But Trees,” “Deluded and Obscene,” “Seaweed On The Rocks”), wacky (a cover of Omega's “Petroleum Lampa”), and gentle (a cover of Daniel Johnston's “You Can't Break A Broken Heart,” “Tired Of Silly Dreams”), Misophone's off-kilter songs teem with endearing melodies that Herbert and Welsh dress up in the richest of acoustic arrangements. Quite unexpectedly, Where has it gone... turns out to be an extremely pleasurable surprise.

January 2009