A decade ago, Melbourners Conrad Standish and Tom Carlyon comprised the frontline for the Nick Cave-indebted art-rock trio, The Devastations, releasing three noir-ish full-lengths and earning praise from The Birthday Party’s Roland S. Howard along the way. But by the time of their last studio album in 2007, drum machine pulses and dusky electric keyboards pointed toward new directions, which are explored now as the duo Standish/Carlyon. On their debut album, Deleted Scenes, those skittering but subtle beats are foregrounded and deliberate. First single “Nono/Yoyo” finds Carlyon’s guitar in Durutti Column mode, fragmenting and echoing around an 80 bpm snare as Standish mewls about the vagaries of love in his best Nu-Romantic falsetto. His voice is at its fragile best on “Gucci Mountain,” which mixes a drugged pace with a shimmering synth melody. And while “Industrial Resort” suggests smokestacks and rust belts, it chugs along like a lost Balearic classic. For the album’s sunny moments though, buzzing closer “2 5 1 1″ suggests not a summer jam but the dog days, made lethargic with humidity.
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