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Styrofoam Nothing's Lost

With 2003's I'm What's There to Show That Something's Missing, Brussels-based producer Arne Van Petegem swapped DSP contortions for more micro-edited melody. Now Petegem has reconciled his range within plaintive pop. Crispy, sputtering click-tracks dashed with minor key accoutrements are sculpted with the stellar assists of Anticon's Alias, the Notwist's Markus Archer, the Postal Service/Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and American Analog Set's Andrew Kenny. Piano shimmers and guitar twang make vapor trails through knotted tendrils of prickly skitter eddies. Petegem's own vocals-along with those of Gibbard, Kenny, Lali Puna's Valerie Trebeljahr and Das Pop's Bent Van Looy-harmonize buoyantly atop the sprawling undercurrents; and regardless of who's singing, Petegem's voice has never been clearer.

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