Boards of Canada, ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’

Preceded by seven years of silence and teased for weeks through a carefully crafted blitz of online clips, codes, and clues, the new Boards of Canada album could have collapsed under the weight of its avant-hype. Instead “Tomorrow’s Harvest” is as strong a return to form as it is stunning an update, with the Scottish duo refining their blend of nostalgic sonics and futuristic sheen. Songs like “Cold Earth,” “Reach for the Dead,” and “Sick Times” are familiar specimens, with dramatically hue-shifting analog tones, and disembodied voices that crackle through like birdsong. But these 17 songs are rich with surprises. The radiant “Transmissions Ferox” sharpens into a steely resonance; “Palace Posey” balances thump and grace atop soaring, searching synths; and the spiny stem of “New Seeds” blooms in a way that feels wholly familiar and wildly fresh. Like most of “Tomorrow’s Harvest” — and like BoC’s music in general — it feels a lot like yesterday, just done better. (Out Tuesday)



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