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Girls In Hawaii
From Here To There
China Shop/Pyramid Records

I have to admit that I'm not really as up to date on the Belgian music scene as I probably should be, but nonetheless I do believe it has produced one of my new favorite records. Of course, it produced it in Europe a year ago, and the band is already working on its next album, but for those of us marking time in the land of freedom fries it has only just been released. I hope they can find someone to distribute the next one right into my hot little hands a little more promptly.

So, yes, Girls In Hawaii are actually six boys from Belgium, although lead singer Antoine (they seem to prefer their anonymity since I cannot find their last names for the life of me) sings in some heavily accented, and occasionally indecipherable, English. Apparently these guys have dreams that extend past the Belgian border, so they've broken out their dictionaries and run with it. At first, From Here To There is a deceptively low key record, where there is enough similarity between songs that if you aren't paying attention, they can seem to run together a bit. But this slow burner is subtle and layered; with melodies that are sometimes cool and stylish, sometimes heavy and full of minor key fun. I don't want to draw too great a comparison to Coldplay, because they don't necessarily sound that much alike, but nonetheless From Here To There is evocative of Coldplay's first album, Parachutes. Guitars replete with interesting riffs and bittersweet chords alternate satisfyingly between subdued and driving, and combine with appealing vocals and appropriately atmospheric keyboards to deliver a most welcome, salty little slice of downbeat pop.

- Heidi Lamer

Track Listing:
1. 9:00 AM
2. Short Song For A Short Mind
3. Time To Forgive The Winter
4. Casper
5. Found In The Ground
6. The Ship On The Sea
7. The Fog
8. Fontanelle
9. Flavor
10. Organeum
11. Bees & Butterflies
12. Catwalk

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