As the debate rages bitterly between London and Athens over ownership of the Parthenon's ancient Elgin Marbles, it seems the Greeks have now fired a cultural salvo of another order entirely. Indeed, while the Brit music scene drowns in a tsunami of banal guitar bands, Athens' own Night on Earth pick right up where the likes of Portishead and the sorely absent Massive Attack have left off.
Their gripping new album Second Hand is the surprise of the fall '09 music season, shot through with haunting piano riffs, tormented horns and sexy but bone-chilling atmospherics--veering even into the downright gothic with the tempestuously elegant "Gliding." Singer Sophia plays the beautiful and tortured noir goddess perfectly, recalling everyone from Billie Holiday to Nico to Beth Gibbons, while balancing sensuality, enigma and lamentation as well as any before her. Their name is an homage to filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, a powerful influence on the cinematic quality of their music--but Second Hand's constant evocations of the equivocal David Lynch aesthetic are impossible not to notice. A black pearl, if ever.
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Source & Photo Credits: Night and Day