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Understanding

Limited Edition

Audio CD

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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The Understanding
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Audio CD, Limited Edition, July 12, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

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In 2002, the Norwegian duo of Svein Berge and Torbjorn Brundtland found a sweet spot between wispy Moon Safari-style pop and Boards of Canada-like atmospherics on the widely-admired Melody A.M. The Understanding sounds relatively absent-minded, careening around the room like a panicky fly. Some of it works well; the bouncy "Only This Moment" resembles Fischerspooner at their silliest (and thus, most fun), while "49 Percent" gets a huge lift from a New Jack vocal courtesy of Chelonis R. Jones. But the record is too often thwarted by syrupy synth-pop ("Follow My Ruin") as well as the lack of shifty downtempo rhythms and avant-garde underpinnings that kept Melody so pleasantly grounded. They haven’t lost their knack for subtle hooks and well-placed cross-rhythms, like the slippery keyboard squibble that glides its way into "What Else Is There?" But the sophomore curse is hard to overcome, and though there’s plenty here to recommend, Berge and Brundtland aren’t able to break the spell. –Matthew Cooke

Review

"...the tracks come alive, pulsing with the kind of ecstatic energy rarely produced on our side of the Atlantic." -- Time Out New York

"Electronic music has rarely ever flirted so closely with perfection." -- Genre

"Gorgeous." (8 out of 10) -- NME

8.1 out of 10 -- Pitchforkmedia

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on August 23, 2005
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