With its finger on the pulse, and its toe in the glow of a vintage acoustics, The Invisible World of Beautify Junkyards (Ghost Box) takes its time to open slowly. The flavors range from hazy jam-rock to syrupy 60’s out-pop group ala the Velvet Underground, but with all its hushy-panache this record has a thick skin. The vocals delivered by Lisbon’s Rita Vian and João Branco Kyron are tempered, warm and friendly, at times a bit adrift on a tropical island. The recording is so clean and clear, with a centered focus on lyrical play and multi-instrumentalists whose synths and strings play fluidly, drifting elegantly from the background to the fore, overlapping the vocal, retreating and accompanying the vibe throughout.
The guitars are finely balanced and never eclipse the vocal, for instance on Sybil’s Dream it’s as if the strings are being loosely braided in and around Vian’s frilly chorus. With more emphasis on percussion in the elliptical Prism things become far more animated. The vocal intonations repeated by both singers mid-track is effective and perfectly elusive, definitely a stand out here. There’s a strong blended reminder which takes some basic cues from Stereolab and Boards of Canada throughout, refined for today’s listener and expanded upon with a premium Latin flare, but there’s also the gorgeous cello courtesy of Helena Espvall, the newest addition to their output and quite well rounded. At times Beautify Junkyards transports through the guise of a pyrotechnic sci-fi b-movie soundtrack and in a split second I hear murmurs of sounds of native Turkey or Peru. It’s a delicate, intricate mix and an overall delightful long-player that will have you relaxed and transfixed in a jiffy.