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Please don’t call the Aluminum Group’s Pedals “lounge,” even though the group’s brand of sophisticated-feeling music brings out the best elements of Burt Bacharach and the Carpenters with the advanced ideas and instrumentation of Red Krayola or Air.
Pedals is nonetheless an opulent blend of sedate vocals and serene melodies. Lyrics by the brothers and bandleaders, Frank and John Navin, read more like short stories than sing-songy pop rhymes, and their enchanting compositions could be considered adult contemporary (only in the best way). “Rose Selavy’s Valise” recounts the career of the artist Marcel Duchamp in mellow fashion. Swirling piano and synthesizers mingle with an upright bass and brushed drums on the elegant “A Blur in Your Vision.”
Accompanying the Chicago-based sextet are guest performances from Jim O’Rourke (who also engineered the album), the cornetist Rob Mazurek, and members of the High Llamas, Tortoise, and the Mekons.