Charalambides Credit: Stephan Laackman

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Charalambides: Tom and Christina Carter (Drawing Room) is the first album of new music in seven years by the Texas-based duo, and, like its title suggests, one of their most elemental. The Carters first played music under that name in 1991, and since then they’ve covered a lot of musical territory, including densely arranged psychedelic epics, straightforward folk songs, freely improvised feedback duels, and austere, wordless chorales. The new album, like its predecessor, Exile (Kranky), is a double LP, but the two releases couldn’t be more different. Exile is an extended meditation on loss with varied, carefully executed arrangements recorded in three states over half a decade. The six pieces on the latest record were recorded live in the studio over two nights—and there’s barely a word on any of them. Each track begins with Tom articulating blues-tinged progressions or looped atmospherics on electric guitar, the foundation over which he patiently unwinds spare, eerie leads or Christina moans, coos, and keens intricate figures. The absence of lyrics opens the music up to express emotions that are deeply felt but impossible to name.   v