The Austin Chronicle

SXSW 2012 Records

Reviewed by Adam Schragin, March 16, 2012, Music

Ava Luna

Ice Level (Infinite Best)

The marriage of indie rock and neo-R&B was arranged by the Dirty Projectors and their game-changing 2009 record Bitte Orca, but it was consummated by a cover of standout Orca track "Stillness Is the Move" by Solange (sister of Beyoncé) Knowles. With that benchmark safely met, it wasn't long before we began to see bands like Brooklyn's Ava Luna, who play within only the wobbliest of barriers between genres. Those familiar with the Projectors' sound will hone in on the three-part female harmonies that populate Ice Level, combined here with a rhythmic stutter and confident vocals more reminiscent of hip-hop than hipsters. Sadly, the news isn't all good: Founder Carlos Hernandez has a tendency to mask his arrangements in more noise than they need, dynamics buried in the resulting fracas. When the band plays with restraint, as on standout track "Down Right," the results are repeatable, even danceable. (Fri., 9pm, the Iron Bear)


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