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Musical super heroes

Who They Are and How They Came to Be!
Who They Are and How They Came to Be!
By Zen Boy & Karma Girl

Self-released: 2007

This review first appeared in Turbula in July 2007.

The whole super-hero motif, from the names to the costumed characters adorning their CD, are kinda cute in a major nerd sort of way. One just hopes they don't distract potential fans from the utterly magic music on this CD from the Los Angeles-based duo.

Inhabiting a musical space somewhere between '70s folk-rock and Kate Bush/Jane Siberry surrealism, "Who They Are and How They Came to Be!" is an overstuffed couch for the ears: a big comfy spot you never want to leave. The absolutely lovely songs all have gorgeous melodies, some of them breathtakingly so. The instrumentation is a warm interweaving of acoustic and electronic.

But the hinge everything on this album swings along is the blending of two voices, the most decadent vocal harmonies heard in years. There are moments on this album that the two voices become one, a single instrument floating above the music.

Zen Boy and his partner Karma Girl provide no real names on the CD packaging nor their Web site, which, a Whois search reveals, has a private registration – sneaky, that. Poking around their MySpace page doesn't reveal their real world identities, either – although it will let you hear four of their songs.

What it comes down to is the music, anyway. On that score, Zen Boy & Karma Girl just might be super heroes.