(Fallen Ember Records)

Jul 9, 2008 at 4:00 am

Like their '80s male/female synth-pop duo forebears Yaz and Everything but the Girl, keyboardist/programmer Brian Beracha and vocalist Brooke Edwards of Glow meld the austerity of electronic music with the warmth of the human voice. Most of these eleven tracks are open-ended and amorphous, though many, like the wonderful "When the Rain Came," use the slow tempo to build toward something more grandiose. The propulsive drum-machine beats get pushed forward on "Be There," a song that vacillates between downtempo verses and energetic choruses. The next track, "Decembering," keeps the techno vibe alive with deep, squelchy bass notes and skittering, scattered percussion as Edwards' voice floats high above the glitches.

But an album called Winter would have to be a little bit pensive and a little bit icy. For the most part, the disc sticks to open, mellow tunes that show off Edwards' considerable pipes and Beracha's deft, if dated, production style. It sounds like Beracha has not updated his keyboard sounds since 1988 — not old enough to be the cool kind of "vintage," and just old enough to sound behind the curve. The duo gets dangerously close to Enya territory on "Here Again," where crescendos and airy synth pads seems to duplicate every few measures. It's hard to know whether or not the duo intends Glow to be a throwback to those halcyon, pre-Britpop days of massive synths and climate-controlled vocals, but that doesn't really affect the outcome. Winter sounds old in a way that is comforting, not kitschy, and while Glow isn't breaking any new ground, the band succeeds at setting the proper mood for these dreamy songs.

8 p.m. Thursday, July 10. Lucas School House, 1220 Allen Avenue. $5. 314-621-6565.

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