It all began on a Tuesday. 200 years ago, Thackeray was born and Kleist committed suicide. The luddites uprose, and a river in New Madrid flowed backward. It all begins, again, on a Tuesday, 200-years-from-now — however we imagine it — like a skip. The CD-R I use to listen to 200 Years in my ….
Music fans like to engage in speculative match-making, imagining what one distinctive artist might sound like in collaboration with another. In real life, of course, such collaborations have a notoriously checkered history. Yet there are still instances when the artists in question present a match too tantalizing to resist, and 200 Years is one such example.
200 Years’ self-titled debut is a bare-boned folk-pop album that avoids frills and instead relies on subtlety. The duo is left completely vulnerable in this tranquil set of songs, which sound as if they were performed on a back porch at twilight, instead of in a studio. The tempo plods along at a snail’s pace, and the mood remains delicate throughout as Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance) strums his acoustic guitar and Elisa Ambrogio (of Magik Markers) barely projects her pretty, waifish voice.
You know this: Sometimes a record carries with it a certain kind of promise, a certain potential. The names involved, their individual résumés, and indeed the very laws of nature dictate that what you will hear will be nothing short of astounding. Your heart might even beat faster as you pull off the record’s shrink wrap, fumble to slide the disc into your music-playing device (or while you watch the download bar, whatever the case) and wait patiently for that all-encompassing moment of YES! to take hold.