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Julian Lynch: Terra (Underwater Peoples) 

When Terra's intentions seem to end at providing the soundtrack for acupuncturists' offices and ersatz yoga classes at conglomerated gym chains (take note, lady at the downtown Gold's who sets her sun salutations to Third Eye Blind), it's easily dismissible as misguided new-age schmaltz.

Those familiar with Lynch—namely, those who rightly loved or admired 2010's Mare—may feel let down by Terra's emphasis on silly Kenny G-like sax riffs, which feel lifted straight off the end-of-episode freeze frame you'd find in '80s action shows like Miami Vice or Hunter.

It's a shame, because there are moments of intense—though abbreviated—power on Terra, like the massive, cinematic spaciousness on "Water Wheel One," which I challenge someone to include on the score for an avant-garde remake of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It's a lazy little idyll, all drift and mood. "Clay Horses," another highlight, is just as meandering. It's odd to find a record whose strengths lie in the moments that purport nothing, that desire to go nowhere.

That sluggishness, though, is both the best and the worst thing about Terra. It's one of the damnedest lackadaisical records you're likely to hear. When that silvery, descending piano on "Fort Collins" butts up against the bass' simple octave notes, you feel like a spell is being cast. And cast and cast. It's voodoo that lulls you so deeply into subservience, you fall asleep before you have a chance to do the houngan's bidding.

More by Sean Bottai

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