The Eastern Stars pick up where people like Beck and Low left off at some point in their careers. Led by Kaia Wong and Rob Corradetti, the sweet, subtle harmonies shine on acoustic folk-pop gems such as "They Know What to Do". It's the sparse, hushed, and close feeling of songs like "Lovely Love" that resembles Lou Reed and Nico hashing something out on an early Velvet Underground record, with each vocalist singing different lyrics at the same time with great results. Not everything is fantastic, with "Little Punk" too simplistic and quirky, bringing to mind Luna on an off day. Fortunately, "Money Money We Want Yours" is stronger, with its deliberate backbeat and creepy, eerie hues, like an urbane version of the Handsome Family. When they stick to this niche, the songs soar, especially the gorgeous "The Ticket That Exploded", which hits all the right spots, while "In Russian Blue" is basically Stars without the bombast. The oddest of the lot has to be "White Belts/Adverse Invest", a collage of influences.
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