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Record Review 

Manic Expressive is the sophomore album from Her Space Holiday, the project of Marc Bianchi, whose roots spring from, of all things, California hardcore. Bianchi's past couldn't be more surprising considering how little about HSH's gentle sonic soul-bearing is manic -- though it is highly expressive.

With its intro ("Manic Expressive [enter]") and outro ("Manic Expressive [exit]"), Her Space Holiday's latest is an invitation to peer through a frosted window as Bianchi and girlfriend Keely share hushed harmonies over bedroom breakbeats. Expanding from the minimalism of HSH's last album -- Home Is Where You Hang Yourself, a dreamy slow-core sway -- Manic Expressive lays on the orchestrations without laying off the opiates.

Manic Expressive takes its cues more from the recent sounds of Air than HSH's previous somnambulist take on Spiritualized. While the dry, tinny rhythmic skitters on "The Ringing in My Ears," and "Key Stroke" might jitter like a defragmenting hard drive, Bianchi lays more emphasis on the fuzzy, sometimes melancholic melodies of his synthetic strings and gently detuned guitars. From the Sgt. Pepper's pop of "Hassle Free Harmony" to the shoegazer shudders of "Lydia," Manic Expressive effectively blurs the line between laptop and live. A hybrid embracing indie rock and IDM alike, it manages to carve a niche as emo-electronica without having to sandblast its intentions, just etch them lightly in the diary margins.

Her Space Holiday plays The Earl Sat., Feb. 2.

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