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Her Space Holiday

Her Space Holiday's membership consists pretty much of former punk musician Mark Bianchi and a load of instruments and electronic machines. The Austin-based Bianchi makes terrific, touching and out-of-the-ordinary songs about the caprices of modern romance.

On Her Space Holiday's brilliant new album, The Young Machines, Bianchi's songs combine elements 1960s bubblegum, today's glitchy electronica, a healthy dollop of noise and a construction technique based on hip-hop.

Bianchi's compositions explore the broken, complicated and confusing ways we cope with life's disappointments and occasional triumphs. All of which would sound so darn contrived if his songs weren't so genuinely affecting.

Prime examples of Bianchi's charming songcraft include the mid-CD trio of the devastatingly heartbreaking "Japanese Gum," the uncertain madness of "Meet the Pressure" and the unguarded honesty of the majestic chamber pop tune "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend," on which eruptions of riffing guitars provide a ballsy framework. This is followed by the dreamy, Enoesque soundscape of "The Luxury of Loneliness."

The poignancy of Bianchi's portraits of woe are balanced by his playful use of technology and musical experimentation.

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